New student chapter at Texas A&M is a first for the International Association of Drilling Contractors

2017 first IADC student chapter members and mentors

From left to right: Chris Menefee, Independence Contract Drilling; Andy Hendricks, Patterson-UTI Energy; Wendolyne Castillo, treasurer, Texas A&M chapter; Ron Lee, Noble Drilling; Zack Aldelamy, secretary, Texas A&M chapter; Jerome Schubert, Texas A&M; Corey Wittig, chairman, Texas A&M chapter; Jason McFarland, IADC president; Zachary Matous, vice-chairman, Texas A&M chapter.

Last year, when members of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), Houston chapter, interviewed Texas A&M University students for scholarships, one petroleum engineering undergraduate asked if IADC had any student organizations.

At the time they did not.

But, as of January, IADC now has its first-ever student chapter - at Texas A&M. The inquisitive student, Corey Wittig, is its chairman.

“For years, IADC had been considering ways to reach out to the next generation of industry professionals,” said Ron Lee, IADC adviser for the new student chapter. “If you look at our stakeholder map for IADC, a key element that’s missing is a formal vehicle for engaging with the next generation of young professionals.”

Petroleum engineering students Zachary Matous, Wendolyne Castillo and Zack Aldelamy also serve as leaders in the chapter. Together with Wittig, they plan to promote networking and engagement between students and industry professionals.

“Whenever you get into the industry, when you get your first job out of college, you won’t be going in blind,” Wittig said. “You’ll have these connections, these associations already built into your college experience.”

Dr. Jerome Schubert, associate professor in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering and faculty adviser for the chapter of IADC, is excited to see the new chapter begin.

“This student chapter welcomes anyone interested in the drilling industry, all disciplines of engineering and business students,” said Schubert.

“We want to promote cross disciplinary interaction,” Wittig said. “We want to engage students that may be typically isolated within their departments. We’re trying to get them to engage together so that they’re more prepared for whenever they get into the industry and actually have to engage on a multidisciplinary basis with different types of people.”

The goal of the chapter is to provide students with interactive opportunities through networking events and professional development activities. The chapter held its first introductory meeting in February. It has since hosted a well control class taught by Randy Smith of Smith, Mason and Co. The chapter is currently working with Independence Contract Drilling to schedule a trip to a drilling rig in April.

The more the industry lends its support, the more the chapter will be able to succeed, and the better-positioned IADC will be to create student chapters at other universities.

“Having an organization like IADC at the student level allows students to really understand what kind of career opportunities are out there and where they might fit in the professional oil and gas industry,” said Andy Hendricks, 2017 IADC chairman. “Texas A&M is a great place to kick off the student chapter for IADC, and we expect to be able to grow it to other universities after this has become a model for how to make it work.”

For more information, see the original article on the IADC Drilling Contractor online news website.