In 2011, Don Williams made the long trip from Michigan to North Dakota hoping to capitalize on the Bakken oil boom — to, as he says, "chase oil and make quick cash." It paid off; for years Williams worked in operations on the oil fields, watching over production and maintaining pump jacks.
To say that Williams worked hard would be an understatement. Putting in 12-hour days, 7 days a week — 84-hour work-weeks were typical. And the work was lucrative. The money flowed as fast as the oil did — until it didn't. In May, Williams was laid off, along with most of the Bakken workforce, when boom went bust.
But within a week, he made a huge career leap — 300 feet up, to be exact — ascending from the firm grounds of the Bakken Oil Fields to the top of a giant wind turbine to take part in a 12-week training course to become a wind energy technician. In his words, he no longer wanted to "ride the oil waves, the highs and lows," anymore.
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