By JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Brian "Bru" Brurud knows that when teaching safety and best practices for dangerous equipment, showing is better than telling.
To help with the showing part, Brurud - founder of Tulsa-based safety consultant company Check-6 - would turn to Beau Brown, president of Industrial3D, an animation company also based in Tulsa.
They realized they had many of the same clients in the oil and gas industry, for which they created safety plans and training videos for drilling equipment.
"We worked with Beau for a number of years, but we would use his products over the course of our interactive simulations," Brurud said. "As our relationship became tighter and more intertwined, it made sense from a linear integration standpoint that an acquisition or merger of the two made a lot of sense."
Check-6 announced earlier this month it had acquired Industrial3D; the companies now share a downtown office and hope to expand both of their operations.
As a former fighter pilot, Brurud knows the importance of watching his back and more importantly, his wingman's back. It's "checking their 6," referring to the 6 position on a clock face and used in a directional sense to mean the person's rear flank, he said.
In his career as a fighter pilot, Brurud was shot at 17 times, he said.
"In every case, I was never the first one who saw the missile come up because I was busy," he said. "That's what saved my life was this planning, discipline and this check-6 culture that I was trained in.
"The translation to that into the oil field is exactly the same. It's an equally hazardous environment - unseen hazards that can reach up and bite you."
Check-6 was founded in 2007 when an offshore drilling rig operator asked Brurud and some colleagues about their military training and how it could translate to drilling safety, citing a report that found the so-called "best practices" in the military could greatly improve safety in other industries.
"He said, 'We seem to do things twice, more than I'm comfortable with, and we're hurting people,' " Brurud said. "That's what started Check-6 ... a training syllabus that we deployed out to drilling rigs."
Those techniques include extensive planning for every contention, communication and a debrief after the task is complete.
"We take techniques that work on aircraft carriers, that every three years have 100 percent turnover of a 5,000 crew component on a nuclear -powered vessel," Brurud said. "To be able to launch and recover aircraft safely and efficiently on it with the average age of 21 is quite a remarkable feat."
Check-6 has since grown to have offices worldwide and works with several big oil and gas players, he said.
Brown said he worked in drafting and design before signing up for the U.S. Marine Corps. Once he got out, the world had changed, he said.
"I came back from the Marine Corps and everybody is in computers," Brown said. "I didn't even know what a mouse was. I had been in the Philippines and Somalia. I was embarrassed and said, I'm going to master this."
He did computer design as a hobby for several years before he was able to expand it to full time and found Industrial3D. The company's work has been featured on CNN and Natural Geographic, and used by companies such as Pioneer Drilling, Transocean and Tulsa-based Helmerich & Payne Inc.
Brown said he realized about 40 percent of his business was already with Check-6, and he was referring some of his customers looking for safety training to Check-6, so the acquisition made sense for both companies. Now they hope to expand the design staff and operate in more locations, Brown said.
Location: Based in Tulsa, with operations on six continents
Workforce: Approximately 300
Growth: Has acquired Tulsa-based Industrial3D, a design and animation company
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310