Stephen (Steve) W. Pryor, 60, managing director of OPS Group discusses his career path to date
How did your career start?
When I left school in South Wales, I had been accepted to teacher training college. However, I chose to seek adventure first in the summer holidays by hitchhiking to India. I shared a van with very forward-thinking Yugoslavs, a Croatian, a Serbian and a Slovakian. Swimming in the Ganges, camping on the cricket lawns in Bombay and travelling through the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan on the roof of a truck, were some of the most exciting, and fool-hardy (my mum would tell you), times of my life. You couldn’t do it nowadays.
What happened next?
Reluctant to leave India, I missed the start of college, so after another year away in France – where I worked as a builder, a decorator, a travel representative and a tobacco farmer – I headed to Aberdeen, where the streets, I heard, were paved with gold.
So where was your first job in the north-east?
Having learned to speak French during my year away, I was scooped up by Flopetrol, a well testing and wireline company, which was later bought by Schlumberger. In Flopetrol, I spent a fair amount of time offshore in the North Sea as well as being sent to a number of overseas assignments in Holland, where my French wasn’t very useful, and to the Ivory Coast, where it was.
I left Flopetrol to join Baker Production Services in 1979, first in Libya then in the UAE. In 1982, I joined Expro.