ADIPEC 2017 show interview: Red Wing Shoe Company

Oil and gas is one of the global leaders in occupational safety, states Paul Olson, managing director, Eastern Hemisphere, Red Wing Shoe Company.

Paul Olson, managing director,  Eastern Hemisphere, Red Wing Shoe Company.
Paul Olson, managing director, Eastern Hemisphere, Red Wing Shoe Company.

When you talk a walk around ADIPEC, the NOC and the IOCs, have a large presence at the event. But ADIPEC is also about the services and technology providers, the equipment manufacturers and suppliers. In that context, where does a company like yours fit in?

At the end of the day, they are all in the energy sector and serve the industry. People from operators and service providers are all going to places of work where there is risk, and our job is to protect them. That’s how we see our role as – protectors. We want them to get back to their families in the same way they left home in the morning.

Do you think there is enough awareness about safety in the regional oil and gas industry? 

The oil and gas industry globally is one of the leaders in occupational safety, if not the leader. I don’t think there is an annual report of an oil and gas company that is published without the CEO or the chairman commenting about the safety culture and achievements of the company. That’s because that’s where it all starts, at the top. I believe the oil and gas sector is at the forefront of the safety culture. But there is always room for improvement. That means suppliers and the people wearing the stuff – they could all get better.

What’s your company’s association with the oil and gas players here in the region?

Ours is a 110-year-old, family-owned company from the US, and we have been present in the MENA region since 1968. Our representative company in the UAE, Al Masaood, is a family-owned business. Our representative in Saudi Arabia, Al Tamimi, is a family-owned business again. In Oman, we work with the Zubair family. So, we have associated ourselves with the best family-owned enterprises in the GCC, and it is quite literally a ‘hand-in-glove’ relationship that we have with these partners. We recently celebrated 50 years of partnership with Al Tamimi group in KSA.

What is Red Wing displaying at ADIPEC 2017?

Most of what you see on the stand is some sort of flame-retardant, fire-resistant clothing. The footwear that you see is safety footwear, all with different features, depending upon the oil and gas function it is meant to be used for. We create performance-specific fabric and products for the marketplace. Our focus is on the energy market and all segments of it. People working in all three sectors have different job functions and different environments to work in, and as a result they have a different safety requirements.

Also, climate plays a key role in our product lines. Here in the region, the temperatures can soar in remote, arid locations, where the oilfields are. So we have to design products meant to be used in such environments. We also have to design clothing and footwear for extreme cold conditions. So the whole environmental spectrum, and the work applications factor, are what we have to consider.

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