It’s always a great pleasure to present our annual Pipeline Leadership Award. In a world fraught with uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn of the oil and gas pipeline industry, highlighting positive stories seems especially important now more than ever.
Doug Banning, the recently retired CEO of Miller Pipeline and Minnesota Limited (collectively MVerge), has been a positive influence on the pipeline industry for the past 35 years. In his time helming two of the largest distribution and transmission pipeline contracting companies in the United States, Banning led with safety.
In today’s pipeline industry, “safety first” is a common mantra. But when Banning set out to prioritize jobsite safety and foster a robust safety culture within the company and the industry at large, this was not so common — or expected.
Banning helped spread the gospel of safety through his influence as CEO of MVerge, as well as his efforts in working with industry organizations, such as the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA). His efforts also included improving workforce development and training, as well as improving customer service.
His focus on safety was borne of his belief in the importance of having good people within your organization.
“If you have good people around you, then leaders just need to set the direction,” Banning told me. But this idea extends beyond the office walls and onto the jobsites. He believes it needs to be a focus for the industry to find the right people to do the work.
“How we get the right people, train the right people and attract the right people continues to be important,” he said. “This is hard work. It’s a greater and greater challenge finding the right people.”
Having the right people and getting rid toxic influences within an organization are to the key to promoting safe and productive work within the pipeline industry.
“We need to get to the point where the only productivity we have as an industry is safe productivity,” Banning says.
These ideas and Banning’s achievements in promoting them throughout the industry are why we are presenting him with this year’s Pipeline Leadership Award.
Normally, we would present the award at our annual Pipeline Leadership Conference. But, as we all know, these are not normal times. Since the event is being held virtually this year, be sure to sign up at pheedloop.com/virtualplc/site/register to watch the award presentation during the Nov. 10 session.
We look forward to seeing you there, and I hope you enjoy reading more about Banning in our cover story.