Family Members Help Each Other Succeed in Gas Fields

Steve Sceranka (in blue shirt) and Stephen Sceranka work for GDS as a truck pusher and roustabout foreman respectively.

Steve William Sceranka and his son, Stephen Andrew Sceranka, had worked numerous jobs together prior to applying to GasSearch Drilling Services (GDS). As contractors, they built log cabins and performed E&S duties (environmental and safety) like site reclamation for other companies.

Stephen was the first to apply to GDS, starting as a roustabout in 2012. Stephen’s experience in construction allowed him to pick up quickly on the nuances of the job. “It was kind of second-hand to me,” he recalled. Within two years, he was promoted to a roustabout foremen.

Stephen is a storehouse of information,” his father, Steve, remarked. “There’s nothing that I can ask him about this industry that he doesn’t know.” In addition to construction, Steve taught CDL classes at Sage Truck Driving School in Endicott, NY. With GDS always looking to recruit new truckers, Steve got to know the personnel and learn about the company.

When GDS lifted a policy in 2018 that precluded the hiring of family members to similar positions, GDS reached out to Steve. He admits that he hesitated to make the move at first but took another look at how quickly his son had advanced and how much Stephen enjoyed his job. “I watched how’d he’d grown in this industry and looked at the fracking industry and how safe it is,” Steve noted, “and I though ‘I could do this’”

Steve came onboard as a truck pusher, an integral player in every rig move and coordination of the fleet. He worked with lead dispatcher Karl Riploeg on a new training package and a truckers mentor group. Steve credits Stephen for helping him and Karl better understand everything that happens on the gas pads.

We took that information and put together the training package. It accelerated the industry. I was told that nobody had done that before,” Steve related. The mentors ride with new hires for up to five weeks.

Their system put everybody on the same page, so that all of the drivers are learning the same thing,” said Stephen.

Though they often work the same shifts, father and son don’t see much of each other at work other than occasionally getting together for lunch. They know that they can always touch base by phone. “We run into similar problems like we did when we were building homes,” said Steve, “and we work through them.”

Both men express a personal pride in the other’s success. “It would bless my heart to see him retire from here,” Steve said of his son. “So I’m making sure that our division keeps this thing rolling.”

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