Meet the Ranger Team: Mick Walker, Operations Manager
A newer member to the team, Mick brings 29 years of industry experience with him to Ranger Drilling.
Having been in the industry longer than most (and where some only last a week) he has a wealth of insights about operations up close and on a wide scale. Walker started as an offsider in 1989 and worked across the world, including Sardinia and managing drilling operations with various clients across West Africa and Australia.
He’s been in charge of larger teams than Ranger’s, granted; as both GM and as an Ops Manager he was responsible for 300+ employees including up to 40 expatriate staff. That’s another reason he’s a perfect fit for helping lead our growing team.
What’s important when you’re on the tools?
Safety, of course. We all want to get home and there are a lot of things that could go wrong across a swing. The procedures can seem like a hassle to some blokes but they’re there for a reason and that’s to keep you out of harm’s way. Staying safe also means staying aware of what’s going on 360 around you, at the same time as keeping your focus on the job at hand.
Both in the office and on the ground, communication is everything. If people don’t know what you’re doing, what they’re supposed to be doing, what the vision of the project is, well, things can fall apart very quickly.
What keeps you active outside of work?
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a massive fan of the footy – carn the Eagles! I also support the junior and youth AFL in my spare time.
What are some of your career highlights?
My career has led me to connect with some interesting places I maybe wouldn’t have been able to quickly pick on a globe if it weren’t for the job, including Sardinia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Mauritania, Guinea and Mali.
I was part of a team that successfully negotiated and renewed a long-term contract with a large blue-chip mining company, which extended the relationship beyond 10 years – including 10 year LTI-free milestone.
What advice would you have for your younger self as a driller?
When a geo tells you it’s fine to go one more rod, it generally isn’t and things go pear shaped.
What do you like most about the drilling industry?
The people and the challenges; these kind of go hand in hand. The drilling game attracts people from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life, but the ones that stick with it all share a few common traits, the main one being the challenge of working in remote locations with difficult conditions, and the satisfaction of getting the job done. Sharing these accomplishments with different crews over the years has provided a lot of good times and memories.
Who in life has given you the most meaningful advice, and what is it?
When I first arrived in Africa a supervisor said to me “to last here you have to give respect to get respect, have a good sense of humour and a s*#t load of patience!”
He was right, and I have pretty much carried that through wherever I’ve worked and in life in general.