OSU Institute of Technology and Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. are partnering to build the future workforce of the pipeline industry.
“As with any industry partnership, the impact of Plains to OSUIT is university-wide,” said Joe Bartlett, Pipeline Integrity Technology faculty. “Plains is an active member of several advisory boards and is willing to help in many different ways. The recruiting teams see skillsets that are being developed in programs as beneficial and able to assist Plains daily operations.”
To strengthen their workforce, Plains recently presented three job offers to OSUIT students who interned with the company and donated $75,000 to the Instrumentation Engineering Technology program.
“Several of our interns from the Pipeline Integrity Technology and the Instrumentation Engineering Technology programs have gone above and beyond this year,” said Jana Jordan, senior recruiter at Plains. “With the skills they have learned at OSUIT and their eagerness to learn, we see them becoming an important part of the Plains team with very bright futures ahead of them.”
Riley Masterson, Pipeline Integrity student, accepted the job offer and will begin working in the Cushing, Oklahoma location as a Pipeline Operator 1 with Plains, upon graduation in April 2020.
“It feels good to already have a job secured before graduation,” said Masterson. “It allows me to be able to focus on my education here at OSUIT and motivates me to make the best grades possible.”
Masterson interned with Plains for four months during the summer where he learned many things about the industry and job he will be going into including; the basics of corrosion, troubleshooting equipment, ground bed installations and the processes of a PHMSA Audit.
“Even though I only worked for the company for a short time, I could tell they were a great company to work for,” he said. “I can see myself growing in the company and furthering my career with them.”
Masterson said that he credits the curriculum of the Pipeline Integrity Technology program to his internship and hire.
“The program has helped by teaching me about the fundamentals of pipelines and by introducing me to different companies to intern for, Plains being one of them,” he said. “In turn, I got a great job; OSUIT and the Pipeline Integrity program is the reason for that.”
Plains said that the hires come from a great response from both the interns and the Plains intern mentors.
“Touring the OSUIT facilities, I see a lot of potential for prospective new hires to learn the basics of the pipeline industry,” said Adam Brungardt, manager of SCADA Operations at Plains. “I am impressed with the enthusiasm of the students to learn about Plains All American and their eagerness to go to work.”
Through the internship partnership with OSUIT, they have had students from the Pipeline Integrity and Engineering Instrumentation programs intern at Plains. Plains has extended job offers to over 50 percent of the OSUIT interns.
“Plains All American values the skills and abilities that the students at OSUIT receive,” stated Rick McMichael, senior director of management systems integrity. “We enjoy introducing Plains to the students and helping them understand that careers in the pipeline industry offer stability and long-term opportunities for growth. At Plains, our vision is to be the midstream leader in safe, reliable, efficient and responsible operations. Providing opportunities for deserving students at OSUIT is a win-win for both Plains and OSUIT graduates.”
To maintain a steady flow of talent, the donation to the Engineering Instrumentation will also aid in workforce development. The donation is to help with purchasing state-of-the-art technical equipment and teaching materials they need.
“We have been able to build a strong relationship with Darrel Cunningham and his team and hope the donation supports their continued success,” said Jordan.
This donation will enhance students’ education so that graduates will be more informed and experienced, helping them to become future leaders in the industry and at Plains.
“With new industry standard equipment, the students are better prepared to step right into an industry role and make an immediate contribution,” said Jordan. “The more types of equipment that the students can work on allows them to have a more thorough experience and a broader knowledge in the E & I field.”
Darrel Cunningham, Engineering Instrumentation Technology instructor, said that this is just the beginning of what he is sure will be a growing mutual relationship between OSUIT and Plains All American Pipeline.
“This provides another avenue for student internships,” said Cunningham. “They have experienced firsthand the quality of the student here through internships and they see the commitment we have to our students.”
“OSUIT has several valuable degrees that we are highly interested in recruiting students to become Plains All American interns and employees,” said Jordan.
Plains Transportation Division has been building a relationship with the Truck Technician program and hopes to do internships with them in the future, as well.
Bartlett said that he believes hearing the students talk about their respective programs has aided in Plains continued interest in the programs at OSUIT.
“Several follow up visits have been extremely helpful in developing this relationship,” he said.
The partnership with Plains doesn’t stop here. Plains is currently undergoing a brief engineering review of the test PIG loop layout to help assemble the loop safely and reliably.
Jordan said that they have been working with a great team from OSUIT from Academics to Workforce & Economic Development; all have been integral in building the partnership between OSUIT and Plains All American Pipeline.