Unison Drilling Inc.
P.O. Box 715
2070 FM 3176
Devine, Texas 78016

Water Line &
Rental Division

Oilfield Supply
    "BLACK GOLD"    

    Maurice Stricker and Annie Mello in Devine, Texas, established Unison Drilling, Inc., in March 1985. It is headquartered in Devine, where Annie was born and reared. As children, she and Maurice worked for their father's water well drilling business there and Annie received her "schooling" on drilling equipment and the language and terminology used around drilling rigs. The family's eight children - five boys and three girls - were all roughnecks on their father's drilling rig at one time or other.

    When Annie and Maurice became partners in the drilling business they began searching for their first rig, driving to Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi before finally leasing a rig from a MIssissippi contractor. Nine months later they purchased their first rig from a Texas drilling contractor.

    Maurice loved attending oil field auctions to buy drilling equipment. Annie sometimes accompanied him, though she didn't much care for the auctions.


    "I just enjoyed being with him," she remembers. "Even though I was his sister, he would take the time to explain how something worked, or why it would not work. Once he sent me to an auction in Odessa by myself to buy a rotary. I thought I had made a good buy until we got it back to the yard and Maurice looked it over. He told me the only thing he would do with that rotary table was to set it in the front yard and plant flowers in it. After that, he never sent me to another auction."

    When Maurice was killed in an auto accident in 1994, Annie arranged to have his body hauled to the little country cemetary in Moore, Texas, on the bed of his 1991 Peterbilt haul truck.

    "I think we made the funeral director a little uneasy, but I knew Maurice would have fired me if I hired a hearse to transport his body when he had plenty of trucks to do the job," she says.

    After Maurice's death, Annie decided to carry on the drilling business instead of selling the two rigs they owned at that time. With the help of her husband, Anthony; her son, Michael; her brother, Dwaine; and her tool-pusher, Clement Wofford, Unison Drilling has continued to grow. The company now has seven rigs drilling in the South Texas area.

    "I don't plan on becoming a big drilling company," Annie says. "I want to stay small. I like knowing exactly where my rigs are working and knowing my employees by name and face. I like knowing every piece of equipment on my rigs and where every dollar is spent. "I can't wait to get to heaven so I can talk with Maurice. I think by now I coud teach him a few things about the drilling business."



    Above: Annie Mello, owner of Unison Drilling Incorporated.
  Below: Maurice Strickers casket is loaded onto his Peterbilt truck to haul to the cemetery in Moore, Texas.


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