In the summer of 1972 I was working as a jackaroo on a sheep farm near Tintinara, SA. Having left school six months before I was planning on making a career in rural Australia but that was to change in a dramatic way.
My sister Sandy had taken a job in Hong Kong as a tour guide. She decided to come home for Christmas seeing she was relatively close and filled my head with all the experiences she had and told me I should visit her in Hong Kong.
Being a jackaroo was not a well paying job so I quit and ended up working on a building site in Adelaide. After a year I had enough money for a return ticket and spending money (from the sale of my beloved EJ panel van). On May 6, 1974 I arrived at Kai Tak excited but green behind the ears. My sister took me to an amazing Chinese restaurant, then fleeced me of all my spending money and told me to cash in my return ticket. She told me she was ‘just a bit short’ and would pay me back.
Six months later we were living in the Philippines after my sister had met her future husband. I started working in his family business, firstly at their steel mill in Manila then at their plastics factory in Bataan Provence. The work was hard but I had the opportunity to pilot the company helicopter on trips from Manila and to other parts of the Philippines. After a year, I was appointed manager of the Hong Kong office where I spent two years selling vinyl flooring to the South-East Asian market. I married in Manila in 1979 and became a father to Danielle who now lives in Adelaide.
Returning to Australia in the early ‘80s I worked on a seismic crew, shooting 2D data north of the Moomba Basin. This was the beginning of my experience in the oil and gas industry. Then a man I met while in the Philippines contacted me and asked if I wanted to work for him in the US. My marriage had failed so I grabbed the opportunity and was soon based in Indianapolis marketing products from Australia to large chain retailers. The company did so well it was approached by the Elvis Trust to sell Elvis aftershave. This took me to Memphis where I toured the mansion and visited many cities in Tennessee. My travels in the US took me to 38 states and I eventually ended up in Houston, Texas. I met my second wife there and moved there permanently in 1988 and went to work in the local oil and gas industry.
In 1997 an Australian friend in Houston took a job in Calgary, Canada, with a seismic company and asked if I was interested in joining him. I became vice president of marketing and was responsible for over 70 people. I would eventually oversee 30 new 3D seismic programs in Western and Central Canada and sales in excess of C$300 million.
In 2005 I started my own company with a few colleges shooting data and achieved $30 million in sales the first year. The oil and gas industry has taken me all over the world. I have visited too many countries to mention.
The fun stopped in 2008 in the Global Financial Crisis and I was forced to sell. I returned to Port Lincoln in 2013 to stay with my 82-year-old mother after my father passed away. I have taken time off from oil and gas and volunteer with Red Cross, Matthew Flinders Home and the IMVS at the Port Lincoln Hospital. I have also published two books which are available in the Port Lincoln Library.