GILMAN, Wis. (WEAU) – It’s a lifestyle not everyone would choose to live, but thousands have chosen this path because it’s where the jobs are. The gas and oil boom in North Dakota has landed a 20-year-old man from Gilman in the pages of People Magazine.
Brad Korenuk joined us through Skype to tell us about his job on the oil fields out west, just an hour or two from Minot.
“They hire on the contracts like Michaels and we come in, we put the pipe in and Hess provides the oil and they run it through the pipe,” says Korenuk who started his first pipelining job at age 18.
He went to a tech school in Medford for a while and was asked if he’d want to join the pipelining industry again. Now, he’s five months in his current job in North Dakota.
“You get exhausted after so long. Sometimes I was working 35 hours on, two hours off in a day. In a week, you get about 125 hours a week. It’s a lot of work. It tires a man out after a while,” he says.
Korenuk was one of eight faces featured in the December 3rd issue of People Magazine, highlighting what it’s like to join the frontier.
“I’m just saving it all up and then when I want go to a 4 year (college) I can just pay it off right away. Don’t have to worry about student loans or anything,” says Korenuk.
Right now, he’s one of thousands who live what’s called a “man camp,” an all-inclusive housing unit.
"Everybody in there is guys. It’s just a whole bunch of dudes living in one big camp. You get your own room, you own bedroom, you get your TV, your personal space, your own bathrooms. It’s not that bad. After five months of it, the food starts tasting really bad because you’re eating the same thing over and over,” he says.
Korenuk says the company even provides entertainment. Larry the Cable Guy came to visit not too long ago, he says.
And he says you make friends who are also at the camp, some from Wisconsin, Minnesota and beyond. They’re all working in the industry for one reason, he says.
“They just want to make that extra money. It’s totally worth it if you don't mind being away from family but you can only take it for so long,” says Korenuk.
He adds he plans to get out of the industry in a couple of years and go to school for computer network analysis and graphics.
Korenuk says he misses his girlfriend of five years, Sarah and although it may be hard to be away from family and friends, it’s all worth it.