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Ernie Unick
Oilman of the Year for 2001

Ernie Unick's career began in 1959 after he graduated from the University of Saskatchewan.  For 11 years he worked for six different companies in lighter crude fields in the United States and Canada.  In 1970, he returned to the Macklin area and the rest of his career was spent in heavy oil. In the early 1980's he moved to Lloydminster.  "I bought service rigs and worked in that.  I even owned six wells toward the end.  I've done it all - engineering, service and the owners end of it."

"It's a different business now.  They're producing oil we couldn't produce 20 years ago.  It's more efficient.  There's been lots of improvements.  There's directional drilling now, there's new pumps out, progressive cavity pumps, there's tubing drains that weren't there.  It used to be a real mess.  If the pumps acted up at the bottom, you had to pull out, oil flying all over the place - it was something else.  Now, it's nice and clean."

"The oil patch has really good people.  Friendly people, caring people.  [The oil business] is a real challenge.  Every well is different, just like people - everyone is different.  ... Even though a person doesn't know why he's picked, it's nice to be remembered and recognized.  It's really quite an honour."

- based on an interview that appeared in the March 30, 2001 Oil & Gas Review