Why We Are...
Robert McGrew, CEO, T.D. Williamson
Pipelines are the infrastructure of the developed world. They fill a crucial need – to bring energy to those who use it every day, from home cooks to large-scale industries. And TDW has been there from the start.
Although our history reaches back to the 1920s, when we helped bring electrical power to the fledgling American petroleum industry, we soon turned our attention to the nation’s emerging network of pipelines. Under the leadership of founder T.D. Williamson Sr., we focused on creating and supplying technology to keep those early lines clean and safe. That included responding to the War Emergency Pipeline Office’s request to develop a scraping tool for a new generation of larger pipelines supplying crude oil to the Armed Forces in Europe – a need met when Williamson, his son, T.D. Jr., and a young engineer came up with the steel, mandrel-bodied tool known today as the pipeline “pig.”
As the years have ticked by and energy demand has soared worldwide, the pipeline industry has similarly expanded. And it’s safe to say that TDW has grown alongside it, achieving a worldwide presence.
But that doesn’t mean our work is done. The same level of ingenuity that inspired the Williamsons to create the first pipeline pig, ushering in a new era of pipeline integrity solutions, is required from us every day. And now, the stakes are even greater.
Take, for example, the need to enhance pipeline integrity as operators work with aging pipeline systems under increasingly strict industry regulations.
We believe that these higher expectations will drive innovation. The industry will see advances in pipe materials, system automation, and sensor and other technologies that help reduce the total cost of pipeline ownership – all while keeping a close eye. on health, safety, and the environment.
TDW participates in this future – and adds value to the industry -- by providing services, technology, and experts that make pipelines around the world safer and more efficient. We’re continually working to improve our products, services, and procedures to reduce risk to pipelines, personnel, and the environment. Our culture of safety is reflected by every team member, in every TDW location, and in all markets.
Just as the members of our leadership team follow the high standards established by our founder, they set the right course for our team by example. Their collaborative answers to the questions below are meant to serve as a group executive biography, demonstrating the collective thinking and culture of our team.
In conversation with the TDW leadership team...
What inspires you to get up and do your job every day?
Working in a global pipeline company is both exhilarating and challenging. At TDW, we’re proud to be part of a rich legacy of serving the pipeline industry. A great day at work means we served our customers well by helping them manage their pipeline risks and ensuring their systems operate safely in the communities they serve. It’s inspiring to be part of a company that supports the delivery of energy around the world, and to know that the solutions we help implement will be used on the pipeline for the rest of its useful life.
In addition, TDW employees enhance the culture of our workplace. Our teams grow and learn together in an effort to create something special and lasting beyond ourselves that will help serve the world for many years to come. It’s an honor to lead, coach, and unlock the potential of our team members.
What do you see for the future of the industry? How can the industry be ready for future markets and technologies?
The pipeline industry will continue to play a critical role in meeting growing global energy demands. Existing pipelines will require inspection, maintenance, and repair techniques to extend their life, and new pipelines will be required to add capacity as our energy needs continue to grow. And as energy demands grow, so will the expectations of the public regarding safety and environmental stewardship. Pipeline owners and operators will meet these higher expectations through integrity management – investing in technologies and experts to better inspect and maintain their pipelines.
Other industry changes will include our work force. As the “Great Crew Change” continues, the value of an inter-generational workforce, where we learn from one another, is key. Employees value purposeful work, accelerated responsibility and paths to leadership. Moving forward, organizations with a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, and strong leadership will attract and retain high-quality talent.
How do you help your customers succeed?
We approach every customer with a genuine desire to understand their pressures, plans, and problems. By listening to them and working in close cooperation, we can identify solutions to the challenges that pipeline operators face on a daily basis.
As leaders, we work to create a customer-centered culture by placing a value on earning and honoring our customers’ trust. We lead our teams to help operators with their integrity decisions to maximize asset life and avoid any pipeline failures in the future. Our expertise helps us drill down past the immediate integrity issues into the place where our customers’ true needs are found – and met.