Building a Future, Not Just Mud
I started working with AES in late 2015 at the Benwood, WV warehouse as a Mud Plant Operator. I worked for 2-3 years and was then promoted to Assistant Manager for roughly six months. Shortly after that, I made the progression to Warehouse Manager. Before AES, my previous experience was with Cimbar Performance Minerals. I ran a roller mill for roughly five years, grinding a product AES is very familiar with, Barite. I also have an Associate’s Degree in Environmental Science.
I always was intrigued by science and chemistry growing up, so when I got my boots on the ground with AES, I was highly fascinated with the mud-building process and never stopped asking questions. I would nag the onsite mud engineers, fellow employees, managers, and pretty much anyone who had more knowledge than me about the fluid.
The specific fluid that always drew a lot of questions and interest to me was “heavy mud.” In the Northeast, we have built Water-Based mud as heavy as 18.5ppg and Oil/Diesel based mud as heavy as 19.2ppg. With these fluids, it was and is still baffling to me that we can mix a fluid with the same amount of solids as liquid and keep the fluid thin enough in the liquid state to be pumped down-hole and actively drilled with.
I would not be where I am today if not for the staff and family we have here in Benwood and at AES. At the Benwood Warehouse, we pride ourselves on doing a lot with little and have an excellent turnover rate where everyone knows their roles and tackles every order head-on. We are a small piece of the company doing big things together.
Blog Author: Dalton Smith, Benwood Warehouse Manager