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There are positives, you just have to look for them

Part of our NOW WHAT!?! series of stories on looking for work

Estevan – Greg Cousins is a hard guy to get down. It might be his usual, slightly crooked, ear-to-ear grin, or his sunny disposition, but he’s probably one of the most positive people you will run into.
Thus it’s not surprising when he strongly emphasized how important it is to be positive about the current downturn in the oilpatch.

Cousins is Site Energy’s vice president for their southern region. Before merging his company with Site almost five years ago, he and his wife Paulette ran Greg Cousins Construction Limited of Carnduff for 33 years. That’s where he’s still based.

He started his business nearly 40 years ago, when things were very slow in the oilpatch. Sometimes there was only one day of work a week, and their one backhoe dugs its share of graves. With his first dumptruck, hauling asphalt, he was billing $18 per hour for the truck, fuel and driver.

He’s endured the ups and downs, and that gives him a sunnier perspective on this downturn than you hear from most people. Along the way, for instance, he dug the rig trenches for a drilling rig near Gainsborough when it was drilling one of the first horizontal wells in this province. Horizontal drilling has since changed the industry, and indeed the world.

“There’s opportunity here,” Cousins said over lunch in Estevan on March 21. “It’s going to come back. Use this as a way to revisit what you want to do.”

He noted how when things have been really busy over the past several years, there’s been so much work that workers’ time spent with family was often in short supply. “It’s time to reflect and spend time with family,” he said. “Volunteer, coach your kids’ team, volunteer with air cadets. Get to know your neighbours. That’s what falls off when things are busy. It’s not all bad.”

As for Site, he said, “We had a good winter. The future will bring what it will bring.”

“I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of guy. You’ve got to be an optimist in the oilpatch,” he said.

Since Site has operations throughout Western Canada, it has meant some of their workers have been able to go up north to pick up additional work.

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