On the Clock with Adam McMahon: Building Safety Culture One Day at a Time

Working across four continents in his 14-year career, Adam McMahon has seen first-hand Noble’s commitment to a strong safety culture spans the globe.

A Southward Journey 

Adam McMahon is from Saint Joseph, Louisiana and began his career at Noble when he was only 20 years old. His started as a Floorman on the Noble Max Smith working in the Gulf of Mexico. The Smith was one of Noble’s five EVA™-class rigs with a unique triangular hull design. Originally built as a submersible rig, the Smith  was converted into a moored, semisubmersible rig in 1999. The newer EVA™ design was capable of drilling at a water depth of 7,000 FT, significantly enhancing the capabilities and extending the longevity of the rig. “Working on the Smith was a great way to begin my career at Noble. The rig had an advanced drilling package with an automated pipe rack handling system on the drill floor. I learned and gained experience early in my career operating automated drilling systems. This helps make the rig floor a safer area for personnel by reducing direct contact with the drill pipe.” 

After four years in the Gulf of Mexico, McMahon traveled with the rig for its three-and-a half year campaign in Mexico. McMahon was promoted to Driller and stayed with the crew when the Smith moved down to Brazil in 2013 for an 18-month contract with Shell. In 2015 Noble decided to move the Smith and Noble Paul Wolff to Singapore where the rigs were ultimately retired from service.
Learn more about this unique double-rig move aboard the Dockwise Vanguard in the LINK story: Paramount Planning.

From Sea Legs to 550’ Legs

After nine years on the Smith, McMahon was transferred to the brand-new Noble Houston Colbert. The Colbert is one of six JU-3000 high-specification jackup rigs Noble added to the fleet during 2013-2014. The rig’s initial contract was with Total and worked offshore Argentina for two years. McMahon worked as a driller for one year, then was promoted to Assistant Rig Manager. In 2016, the Colbert made the journey from Argentina to the Arabian Gulf. After three years in the Middle East, the Colbert is headed to the North Sea for the first time. After working in one of the hottest regions of the world, the crew of the Colbert is preparing for the challenges ahead working in a colder region. “I am very thankful for the teams of the Smith and Colbert who mentored me through the years. They showed me that with hard work and training anything is achievable.”

Continually Building a Safety Culture

Across 14 years and three continents, McMahon has seen firsthand promoting a strong safety culture is a continuous process. Each time the rig moves, there are language barriers to overcome and a local crew to train to Noble’s high standard of safety. “We continually build our safety culture on the rig as new people are added to our team. We can never become complacent and always enforce the policies and procedures that are in place.” In his role as Assistant Rig Manager, McMahon supervises drilling as well as rigging and lifting activities onboard the rig. He is involved in pre-tour and transition to work meetings. “I make sure the supervisors have what they need to perform their job safely and efficiently. The team always looks for a better, more efficient way to complete their daily task and make the job safer and more efficient.”

Family Ties 

McMahon and his wife Annie have been married for 15 years and have a full house with four children: 15-year-old Kade, 13-year-old Kathryn, and 8-year–old twins Hannah and Noah. During his time off, he enjoys hunting and fishing with his kids, and watching them perform in sports activities such as baseball, softball, football and basketball. 

Building strong family ties extends to McMahon’s “Noble family” as well. “We put our people first and our primary goal is for everyone onboard to feel like part of the Noble family and return home safely to their loved ones. I take great pride in my job and enjoy mentoring the crews and watching them grow within our company. When you have the right culture on the rig, anything is achievable.”


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