HDD

Bigger than Texas

Mr Dow has been involved in the Trenchless Technology industry since the age of 15, when he began working for the family business, Triflo International. (TFI), in the area of solids control.

TFI began operations in 1979 in Houston, Texas. Mr Dow started in the yard, cleaning out, refurbishing and assembling oil and gas solids control equipment, tanks and drilling rigs.

TFI was the first solids control company to dedicate a specific division to HDD and drilling fluids, as well as environmental remediation.

After several years of training in-house, Mr Dow then began his formal training in mud engineering to complement his field experience. Today, he also has a bachelor degree in business and an associate degree in petroleum engineering, in addition to his qualifications in mud engineering, fluids processing and chemical engineering. Mr Dow has trained at the Colorado School of Mines, and is a lifetime member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

After working in 58 different countries over 24 years, Mr Dow settled in Australia in September 2006 after establishing Innovative Fluid Systems (IFS), of which he is an owner and partner.

The company supplies full turnkey services, equipment, manufacturing and custom design. IFS also trains in fluid dynamics and the handling of the solids removal. The company offers several systems for rent or purchase along with full training and support.

Mr Dow’s reasons for coming to Australia were simple. “Australia did not have a full turnkey solids control and engineering group that could assist with ground level operations, offer fluids remediation knowledge and supply solids control equipment,” said Mr Dow.

Mr Dow first worked in Australia in the 1980s, assisting TFI on a range of projects for the oil and gas sector. He went on to work for AJ Lucas on several high profile fibre and power installations.

“I was the solids control engineer tasked with training, setup and operation of their first mud mixing and recycling system, supplied by TFI,” recalled Mr Dow. “We then continued with them on several international projects in southeast Asia.”

By 2006, the time was right to set up permanent roots in Australia, with the establishment of IFS.

“Now I plan to make Australia my home for good. I hope I can make a significant contribution to the industry with my knowledge of equipment and solids control experience,” said Mr Dow.

Mr Dow said that working in Australia has brought many unique and exciting experiences.

“As I am an expat, all of the projects I have worked on in Australia are a joy, as they allow me to discover a new part of the country and the people who make it go around.

“Working at Lakes Entrance in Victoria was quite the pleasure, as we were on the beach (literally) for three months installing 600 mm flow back/wash lines. Very cold but the sunrise and sunset each day made up for it. I even had a site visit from some penguins and sea otters!”

When asked about the difference between the Australian industry and other trenchless industries around the world, Mr Dow has many experiences he can draw upon for comparison.

“Europe and Australia are similar in their regulations and a “÷safety first’ attitude,” said Mr Dow.

“Most HDD industries around the world do not have the same control over the industry as seen in Australia. I find the process to be tedious, but at the same time much needed, in regards to permits, inductions and safety classes.

“The environmental strategies implemented by councils and state and federal governments are needed to secure a clean environmental operation, and in my opinion these are much stricter in Australia than in the United States, Canada, China and South America.”

Pleasingly, Mr Dow notes that the quality and skill of the Australian HDD industry measures up extremely well on the global scale.

“The knowledge available in the Australian HDD industry is vast, with many contractors who have been at it a long time.”

No doubt this is one of the reasons that have led this Texan to now call Australia home.

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