We all want to advance our careers—to push the envelope, to learn and evolve within our specific trades. But that doesn’t mean we know how to take our career to the next level or secure that next promotion. Even after you’ve gained years of experience in the field or taken advantage of professional development opportunities and courses, you may still find yourself struggling to get to the next level. In this blog post, I’ll talk about how to make progress in your drilling career.



I recently interviewed Cascade employee Kiel Hendricks. Kiel started his career as a Driller Assistant in December 2019 with no prior experience in the industry. His background consisted of a four-year term in the United States Army, and project management work in the healthcare industry. He said he’s always sought ways to make an impact on his community, and felt the environmental services industry was the perfect match.

Fast forward to October 2020, and Kiel has accepted a position as a Project Manager. While he does have a strong background in project management, his industry experience makes him somewhat of a rookie. So, what does it take to make this type of jump in your career? 

In Kiel’s case, it was a combination of his own initiative and the help of others. He benefited from strong mentorship, but also made a commitment to learn as much as possible and work hard.

While Kiel’s story is impressive, it’s possible for you to make similar strides. Here are the key steps he took that you can take, too:

  • Seek out a mentor who has been in the drilling industry for a long time. Most people are more than happy to share what they’ve learned over the years.
  • Be proactive in your training and development. Take advantage of the resources your organization offers, and use the power of the internet to find more.
  • Set goals, but be flexible. It’s rare for any career to follow a linear path, so don’t be surprised if yours isn’t a straight shot to the top, either. As organizational needs change, change with them when appropriate—your career may take off in a fulfilling direction you didn’t expect.



One of the keys to Kiel advancing so quickly was solid mentorship. He worked with experienced drillers who provided on-the-job training and support. Off the project site, Kiel sought advice and insight from operational leaders Don Bond, Mike Bond and Marti Anderson. “They always let me dive in and pick their brains,” he said. “They were never bothered by my questions and always encouraging me to ask and learn more.”

If you don’t have a mentor, consider reaching out to your operational leaders and asking if there’s a formal mentorship program. If not, find out who the senior drillers are in your organization, and get to know them. Ask questions and go outside your comfort zone to learn more. 



In addition to mentorship, Kiel spent his first year at Cascade immersing himself in the environmental drilling industry, both at work and in his personal time. He read through the resources available internally, and scoured the internet for articles and videos he could learn from. He also made a point to watch webinars about different aspects of drilling.

If you’d also like to further your education about the drilling industry but don’t know where to start, these resources should be helpful.

For resources to specifically drive your career forward, check out my previous post, How to Grow your Drilling Career



Kiel’s career progression is due in part to his proactive, can-do attitude. His short-term goals were to learn as much as possible and be a solid contributor to his team, while his long-term career goals were aimed at project management.

Being proactive is more than just setting goals—you also have to go after them. Kiel routinely monitored job openings for a position in project management, and when one became available, his mentors and leadership team encouraged him to apply.

Another key factor to Kiel’s career advancement is his flexibility. The project management role that came open was halfway across the country, and if he was offered the job he’d have to move from his home in Michigan. To Kiel, the trade-off was worth it. For you, maybe it wouldn’t be. You need to know which of your goals and priorities are flexible, and which ones are not. You are the only one who can decide which sacrifices you’re willing to make. When you’re setting goals, think through the trade-offs you’re willing to make to get to where you want to be in your career.


Whether you’ve been in the environmental services industry for one year or 10, it’s always possible to advance your career and take that next step forward. By identifying strong mentors, committing to your own education, and setting and proactively working towards your goals, career progression is absolutely attainable.

Interested in starting your career at Cascade, or curious how you can level up? Reach out to our Director of Talent Acquisition, Jessica Alexander, at [email protected] or apply today at www.cascade-env.com/careers.


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