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George Goruk


Born: Bellis, Alberta


Born in 1929 in Bellis, Alta., a tiny hamlet about halfway between Edmonton and Cold Lake, George Goruk was attracted by the excitement surrounding the discovery of oil at Leduc in 1947. In 1950, at the age of 21, he signed on with Alberta Well Servicing, at the time active in the development of the Leduc field.

Two years later, he moved over to Kenyon’s Oilfield Drilling and Servicing and worked his way up the ranks, eventually becoming a field superintendent overseeing Kenyon’s service rigs in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

But life on the rigs or in the field was not what George wanted for a long-term career, and in 1962 he acquired the assets of Red Deer–based Chupp Well Servicing and started Target Well Servicing, which he built into a modern fleet over the next decade before selling to Thomson Industries in 1973 and staying on as vice-president.

He continued to actively grow Thomson’s fleet, setting up service rig subsidiaries in Wyoming and Texas and sending the first Canadian service rigs to Australia.

Beyond entrepreneurship, George was an early innovator. At Thomson, he commissioned the construction of a self-propelled service rig rated to 25,000 feet, at the time one of the largest service rigs in Canada, and acquired the rights to a coiled tubing injector head from Brown Industries in Texas. He used it to build one of Canada’s first coiled tubing units, an innovative self-propelled carrier with the injector head mounted in a derrick.

George continued to grow the Thomson well service division by adding Nitro Gas Stimulation Services in Calgary, L&M Oilfield Rentals in Edmonton and Arrow Supply in Corpus Christie, Texas, before Thomson was acquired by ATCO in 1978.

George was named president of ATCO Oilfield Services and continued to oversee Target (now renamed ATCO Well Servicing) and the other Thomson companies he established. When ATCO eventually sold its well services businesses, George stayed on as a director of ATCO Drilling until it was rolled into a new company, AKITA Drilling, in 1993.

A long-time member of the Oilfield Technical Society, George was also active in the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors and served as chair of its service rig division. He participated in the Alberta government’s trade mission to Russia in 1987 and has contributed to a number of committees and organizations over the years.

George retired in 1994 but continued to raise registered quarter horses and polled Hereford cattle for several years on his farm near Sylvan Lake, Alta., which he now runs with his sons as a hay and grain operation.


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