Biography Citation for the Cecil Green Enterprise Award
Very few people are able to truly live out their dreams and see their visions become reality. Dave Robson is one of those select few. As his close business partner for 20 years, I've had the opportunity to plan and philosophize, to celebrate and agonize with him through the highs and lows of business life in the service sector of the oil patch. I'm honored to write this citation.
Dave Robson was born on a farm in rural Alberta, Canada. Perhaps it is from this low profile and relatively humble beginning that Dave gets his common-sense thinking and the basic value system which underlie his tremendous achievements to date.
After earning a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alberta in 1961, Dave embarked on his illustrious career by entering the oil and gas service business. During those early days, Dave held managerial positions with CDP Computer Data Processors Ltd. and Digitech Ltd.
In 1974, Dave saw an opportunity to acquire and re-energize a struggling seismic data processing company in Calgary, which had just been renamed Veritas Seismic Processing Ltd. Risking virtually all of his personal assets to ensure payroll, Dave launched this little private company in a direction that would one day place it among the top five geophysical companies in the world.
So what qualities and strengths in a person turn such dreams and visions into reality? Is it his untiring energy and drive? Or is it his focus on customers, employees, suppliers, and shareholders? What about his high value system and reputation for honesty and integrity? Or his ability to attract great people and the expectations of high standards of achievement from these people? As you might figure, the answer is all of the above.
But with any success story, one must possess the ability to overcome obstacles and take advantage of opportunities. Dave's success story includes some of both.
A strategic milestone in Veritas' growth came in 1983 when the company entered the data acquisition business through an acquisition of a Canadian geophysical company. This diversification strategy would benefit the company as it survived the great oil-field downturn of the mid-1980s.
In addition, Dave's leadership qualities and his ability to manage the business through this difficult stretch would also benefit the survival, and ultimate growth, of Veritas. In fact, in 1988, Dave totally restructured the company's data acquisition business, making it more competitive in the Canadian land market.
As the company emerged from the downturn, and industry fundamentals became more favorable, Dave believed the time was right to take the company public. In 1993 Veritas Energy Services was formed through a $(Can)25 million initial public offering and a further $(Can)15 million financing which helped the company grow from $30 million in revenue to $150 million within two years.
In 1996, Dave and his Veritas management colleagues saw an opportunity to expand the company's land acquisition and data processing businesses into the growing marine markets. As a result, Veritas Energy Services merged with U.S.-based Digicon to form Veritas DGC, Inc., which today ranks as the fifth largest geophysical services company in the world.
But Dave and his management teams both old and new did not stop there. They stepped up the company's commitment to customers by upgrading its data acquisition and processing technology and capabilities, adding state-of-the-art vessels and computer technology, and seeking the best personnel possible.
It's no wonder his company's name is Veritas, which in Latin means "truth." Finally, it's also no coincidence that Dave and his management team selected the tagline "Geophysical integrity" to describe Veritas. After all, it is truth and integrity that best characterize Dave Robson.