Green is the colour for Saskatchewan Rig Manager James Kapeller

Saskatchewan (Canada) flag waving on the wind
Saskatchewan’s flag waves in the wind.

James Kapeller was born, raised, and still lives in Arborfield, in the northeastern part of Saskatchewan.

It may not be obvious, but coming from this rural town had an influence on his decision to work in the oilpatch, and ultimately for Trinidad.

“It’s a little town in Saskatchewan that’s had a lot of oilfield people come out of it over the years. I grew up around them,” said Kapeller. “It seemed like a good way to make a good living.”

It certainly turned out that way. Kapeller, who joined Trinidad in 2003 as a Floorhand, is now a roving Toolpush (aka Rig Manager) who goes wherever he’s needed. He spent most of the last four years in British Columbia, and is now Relief Rig Manager on Rig 60, a tele double near Hinton, Alberta.

If you want to move up, pay attention

Kapeller moved up through the various positions from Floorhand through to Driller, and then made it to the top as Rig Manager. How did he do it?

“I paid attention, worked hard, was in the right place at the right time. I always worked year round, so whenever the rig worked, I worked. You put in your time and pay attention as you go, and it all falls into place from there,” explained Kapeller.

As Relief Rig Manager, his day begins early with the first report due at 6 a.m. He continues with the crew change safety meetings, does his walkabout, and then continues on with a day full of various duties.

“You try to be there when there’s a crucial task going on. Day-to-day, you show your presence and watch for the little things right up to the big things. And you also have to make sure the bookwork is done.”

What does that mean, green is the colour?

Many of our employees “bleed Trinidad green” – that aqua colour that helps define our brand — and Kapeller is no exception. He likes the people, the work and the culture.

“Trinidad has a good core of people, good down-to-earth people who are easy to talk to,” he said. “They understand the things that go on in life. If you have a problem or something comes up, they definitely understand, and they treat their people fairly.”

“They have a good safety program. I think they’re pretty open to suggestions, too, when it comes to safety. They always take the time for suggestions.”

He works two weeks in, two weeks out, but often puts in more days when he’s needed. On his weeks out, he drives home to Arborfield, where his family also lives, and where he grew up spending plenty of time in the great outdoors – lush and green in summer, white in winter. He still does.

“I enjoy the outdoors. I do quite a bit of fishing, hunting, quadding, golfing – I love to golf in the summertime, I play hockey and snowmobile in the wintertime, anything to keep a little bit active.”

And there’s that other colour of green, deep and true, that most Saskatchewanians identify with. It’s the colour of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Kapeller is a big fan.

“I cheer for the Riders, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “I don’t miss a game if I can help it. I don’t go to all of them, (but) I’ve been to quite a few.

“We’re not having a very good year this year. We had a perfect record until a couple of weeks ago: it was 0 and 9.”

It’s that balance between work life and personal life that makes it all worthwhile. For Kapeller, a career with Trinidad has also been rewarding, as he’s moved up from entry level to Rig Manager.

Want to read more about our employees? Check out Brandon Merriman’s story, and Erica Rocha’s history with Trinidad.

And don’t miss this post about our CEO, Lyle Whitmarsh, and his journey from Roughneck to CEO.

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