Education: Chemical Technology Diploma; Petroleum Engineering Applications Certificate Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Mathew Bennett is many things: He’s open minded, unconventional and an out-of-the-box thinker. But if you ask him, his most successful trait has been his knack for simplifying the complex.
“I would say my ability to take complex problems and distill them into simpler, smaller parts that are easier to solve has help me be successful in this industry,” he says. “The most rewarding thing about product development is finding solutions to challenging conditions that customers face today or will face tomorrow. A large number of products or solutions never become commercialized so when we see products or new solutions make a difference in field operations, it is very fulfilling.”
Tech talent: At Calfrac Well Services, one of the world’s largest hydraulic fracturing companies, Bennett is regarded as an innovative leader with a talent for developing new products.
“Mathew is consistently striving to think outside-of-the box and does not let conventional methodologies or legacy fracturing systems or products deter him from pursuing a viable alternative,” says Bernie Schulmeister, Calfrac’s director of global laboratory services.
“He is open to new ideas and new techniques, continually striving to bring value to the company, customer and, most importantly, the reservoir.”
Since joining the company in 2007, Bennett has applied his experience in the areas of rheology and fracturing fluid systems development globally. He has helped launch Calfrac operations in Russia, Argentina and across the U.S. and Canada.
Career path: Bennett has more than 16 years’ experience with oilfield chemistries, and specializes in hydraulic fracturing. He also has extensive knowledge in custom product formation and fracturing fluid design.
He began his career after graduating from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) with a certificate in chemical technology in 2003; he also has a petroleum engineering applications certificate.
Bennett spent four years working as a chemical specialist at Chemergy LLC. He simultaneously worked toward a SAIT petroleum engineering applications certificate, which he received in 2005.
Bennett joined Calfrac in 2007, and has been an integral driver of all new product development within the organization for the past 10 years. He was promoted to manager of laboratory services in 2016.
“Mathew's intuition and skillset is continuously and tirelessly put to work in developing products under difficult financial constraints,” Schulmeister says. “In the process he is consistently recognizing the economic implications, product performance and environmental responsibility that is required in our industry.”
A day in the life: Bennett is originally from Red Deer, Alberta, but when he moved to Calgary for post-secondary studies, he never left the city.
His typical work days are divided into two parts: a portion is devoted to day-to-day support of Calfrac’s operations and customers, while the second part involves longer-term projects. The latter involves project planning, leading his team and meeting with customers and industry experts to ensure the company can stay current with upcoming technological advances.
When not at the office, he enjoys spending time with his family, camping and training for triathlons.
On challenges: When it comes to professional obstacles, Bennett says change management has been among his greatest challenges when introducing new technologies. Luckily, he’s found a work around.
“I find getting early buy-in and allowing key stakeholders the opportunity to provide input as the project progresses helps increase the probability that a new technology will be successful,” he says. “Once you establish a culture within the organization that is open to change, the introduction and adoption of new technology get easier.”