The future of our workforce is bright! Marathon Petroleum recently sponsored the Kenai Peninsula College’s four-member process technology student technology team as they traveled to the National Process Technology Troubleshooting Competition finals on April 26-27 in Gonzales, Louisiana, at the River Parish Community College.
“These young men are some of the best of the best in process technology (PTEC) students, and live in the Kenai area. We are fortunate to have local talent here in our community as a resource,” explains State Government Affairs Manager Casey Sullivan. “Qualifying for the finals meant they ranked in the top 10 schools in the nation and were invited to represent Alaska at the event. We were proud to help make their journey possible.”
The competition involved two scenarios, one with a natural draft fired heater and one with a gas dehydration unit. Each scenario was about an hour long with many challenges. “Halfway through the day, they announced our standing and we were in fifth place,” recalls their coach, Jeffrey Laube. “In the afternoon, there were two additional scenarios both using the advanced distillation model with the virtual field operator. While San Jacinto College earned first place for the third year in a row, and notably has a PTEC program ten times the size of KPC’s, the team found it to be a valuable and enormous learning experience. We were very appreciative for those who helped make it possible to attend the competition.”
One of the members wrote, “In addition to the ‘hard skills’ of industrial plant operation, judges observed and scored our ‘soft skills’ such as how well we talked, and the thoroughness of our shift-changes. One of the coolest transformations from the beginning of the season to finally going to Nationals was going from an academic understanding to a near ubiquitous use of industrial jargon. While we learn valuable book knowledge here at KPC, for the competition, our team lived and breathed it. By the end of the season, we knew and used process operation troubleshooting terms fluently.”