31 May 2016, Aberdeen. The Scottish Summer Season in 2006 was the beginning of an exciting and successful ten year journey for Louise Wood, as Managing Director, Prodrill Energy Resource Solutions Ltd when she accepted the offer as MD, took the risk and never looked back.
With 18 years of recruitment, management and business development experience behind her, the offer as MD of a Drilling and Well Engineering recruitment business was an immense challenge for her to take on, but a decade on she remains at the top of her industry and here she looks back at some of her highlights in this volatile sector, whilst keeping a firm eye on the bottom line.
During the first few months in 2006 that Louise worked with the team at Prodrill it was evident to her that the company was operating as two separate streams and this was causing a split in the business, so she spent the next 6 months restructuring the team, and whilst this involved some difficult decisions these were necessary to get the company aligned as a recruitment business. However, working closely with Mike Macdonald, Business Development Director, the following 12 months would prove critical. Together they defined clear roles and responsibilities, introduced new standards and systems, and hired a team who were hungry and eager to develop the business was the first stepping stone to their successful journey.
Wood commented “In the early days of my career, businesses were built on the strength of relationships, engagement with people was critical, with the use of technology being secondary however Job Boards such as Monster were coming to the forefront. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were not available to recruiters, good old fashioned communication along with building our knowledge of the Oil and Gas industry was key to our success back then. Wood continued “I was fortunate to have Graham Burgess as my mentor and to this day I have very fond memories of Graham. Sadly we lost Graham, also one of our key shareholders in 2011. He made a lot happen, after all, he took a gamble on me in 2006!
As Prodrill fast became one of the global market leading resource specialists in the energy industry, Wood’s experience was soon put to the test when she and her business partner Mike Macdonald approached the Sovereign Group, the business owners, to consider a Management Buy Out. Reluctant at first to let a jewel in the crown go, Sovereign were facing its own challenges and were considering divesting in some businesses. So with the support of their shareholders and stakeholders, Claymore Investment Limited, the parent company successfully concluded the MBO of Prodrill in September 2009. Wood and Macdonald continued to work hand in hand to strengthen the business as an independent company moving to new premises in Aberdeen and re-branded as Prodrill Energy Resource Solutions.
Wood comments on how technology has changed recruitment. “Technology has been a key contributor in the recruitment sector, and how the world cannot seem to operate today without Social Media”. She recalls a leading figure quoting ‘Technology will come full circle, that it will operate so fast that we will have to get back to basics in order to catch up with ourselves’, believing this to be true.
Today, she continued “Advancing technology in the recruitment sector has been a game changer, we are able to reach target audiences we were unable to reach ten years ago, and we can zip through various time zones and reach people at the beginning or end of their working day. Engaging with individuals face to face via online technology can help build up that rapport quickly and responding to large volume campaigns is quicker and simpler than ever before. It is by far one of the most rewarding industries to work in”.
More recently in 2014 Wood was nominated and won IOD ‘Director of the Year’ for the Aberdeen & Grampian Region 2013, an accolade that she treasures and is very proud of.
Whilst the Oilfield industry continues to experience some of the greatest challenges that the industry has seen in the last decade, and in particular human capital has been particularly hard hit, Wood said “It’s important to not lose sight that longevity in the market is critical. Whilst we are all suffering with the fluctuating oil prices, and many organisations are having to weather the storm, leaner for longer will pass and we have to be able to support the industry in the future years to come. Yes the business models we were running 18 months ago may no longer be viable as they once were, we are all having to operate with efficiencies in mind. We need to work in collaboration to add value not just by cutting costs or reducing people and profit margins. Businesses need to remain in profit to attract investment and support growth so that the services are available to the industry when it needs to accelerate again”.
Prodrill recently expanded into the Middle East, committed to supporting their clients and applicants in the UKCS, believing internationalism will offer greater return on investment year on year.
Wood concluded “It goes without saying the ten years seem to have passed in a flash, that maybe something to do with I was only 36 when I started this journey. For sure it has been a roller-coaster at times, and I have had the privilege of working with some of the best people in the industry and of course being part of the Prodrill Team, without them, none of my success would have be possible”.
Prodrill Energy Resource Solutions dedicates itself to in-depth industry research so we have the ‘know-how’ to source the best positions available in the international marketplace. We pride ourselves on our global reputation as leading resource specialists. Prodrill provides professional, highly qualified and experienced personnel for the global Drilling and Well Engineering sectors, supplying consultants to over 30 countries worldwide. With well-established contractual relationships with global E&P clients and operating in over 12 regions across the globe, Prodrill offers the latest industry consulting opportunities.