FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Mark Salkeld
August 13, 2013
Imagine this picture – high school dropout, dude ranches and farms, trap lines, heavy duty mechanic, rig jockey with passport stamps from every corner of the world. Imagine this picture – starched white shirt, suit and tie, corner office, MBA, boxing, tooling around town in his Jag. If you had those images of the President and CEO (since Sept. 2010) of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada – then perhaps you already know Mark Salkeld. Big guy, big handshake, big heart.I enjoyed our meeting – not that most CEO’s aren’t well schooled in being affable, but this one could make anyone feel welcome.
Son of a civil engineer and a stay at home mom, born in Burnaby, Mark Salkeld is the eldest boy with three older sisters from a pack of six kids. High school days didn’t interest him and lure of farm and ranch life that formed over summer jobs in BC and Saskatchewan – an interest in heavy duty mechanics, rigs and learning, and travel, soon began an oil patch journey with so many stops I couldn’t keep track as he rattled them off – with emphasis on: on shore, off-shore, Beta Well Services, Nabors, back to school, back to Australia, Red Deer, in the field, in the office. Rapid fire high-lites, recollections told with high energy and way more enthusiasm than you might expect of an exuberant 16 yr old.
He waxes about water issues (his dad’s profession), praises the MBA program at Athabasca University and those who encouraged him to go back to school, under-sates his people and management skills, speaks of drilling fewer wells and getting far more production from it. “I’m always open to change”, he says! Our strength is in our members – from mom and pop operations to big companies, here in Canada and international business, contributing $100 billion annually to the economy. Our role is to lobby for our industry and to educate. For instance, most people don’t know the first well fracked was in DraytonValley in 1953. To date, over 200,000 wells have been fracked. The science isn’t new!.“ He pointed me to Frac Focus for further education.
I asked Mark what qualities distinguish preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers?
… dependable. People who enjoy what they do. People who figure things out, show effort.
I asked what distinguishes him, why his customers choose him over competitors?
… open, honest, not afraid to admit my fears. Whatever comes my way, I think I can handle it, I can figure it out
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
... I’m committed to raising awareness of PSAC, our role in R & D, creating greater awareness of the truth about hydraulic fracturing – those things are on my mind. I wish more journalists would get educated on who far we’ve come.
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… the influence of those summers (age 13,14,16) I spent on a ranch in Saskatchewan, the influence of Denzil Sutton (think of a Canadian John Wayne type) – and facing up to and taking responsibility for my own actions . . . like putting a front-end loader up through the roof of a quonset we’d just built. And, more recently, I had a mini-stroke. A TIA. Thanks to Foothills hospital I got through it without damage.
I asked Mark how he sees oil and gas business from PSAC’s perspective over the next 90 days?
… steady as she goes, oil prices are high, demand for production, our member companies are still looking for skilled workers. Steady is good.
Over the next 5 years?
Even better! Pipelines – we’ll get them – east/west, KeystoneXL, BC .. we all need oil & gas. Helping our members do more business in Canada and around the world.
Work life balance?
… did some sparring in the ring with my son. Not so much the boxing, but the time spent working out with my son. Gardening. The fish pond. Love it. I report to my boss Mrs. Salkend. We do a lot of hiking. Traveling. 2 children, 2 grandchildren.
What are you reading?
… novels – I like Ludlum, La Carre types; read a ton doing my MBA. Lots of business reading. Currently enjoying Rick George’s book Sun Rise.
… 2006 Jag Super Plus V8, it fits me like a glove. My 3rd Jag. I’ve always bought used ones – the 2nd and 3rd were each the result of stopping into the showroom when my car was in for service.
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