Continuing Education's New Pipeline Training Program Recognizes First Cohort To Complete Only Such Program in South Texas
Article by: Melinda Eddleman
With the economic boom in the Texas Coastal Bend, pipeline workers are in high demand. The Del Mar College Continuing Education 72-hour Pipeline Training Program is addressing that need, and its first cohort completed their initial training with a ceremony on May 23.
According to Joe Hayen, Continuing Education program manager, the College offers the only such program at least south of San Antonio. “I researched to see if I could find another pipeline training offering and really couldn’t find anything, but it’s safe to say we’re the only such program across South Texas.”
The mastermind of the College’s program, Louis Lopez, a 35-year career veteran in the pipeline industry and retired senior engineering technician from ExxonMobil Pipeline Company, corroborates with Hayen.
The public has no idea about pipeline. Pipeline is a critical part of our socioeconomics as related to energy with the public knowing very little about the industry. I also was surprised that no other college offers pipeline training.
Lopez says that the industry is an important part of the oil and gas industry and a staple in this region.
“Pipeline is how you get oil and gas from the oil field to the refineries; and after the refinery makes products like jet fuel, it’s shipped by pipeline to the airports,” he notes, adding: “The industry spends a lot of time and money training new recruits to learn how to work with pipeline, so I approached Del Mar with this idea for a program that has been well received by the public and the industry.”
Nine students began the program in mid-February with some already working in pipeline after companies hired them before finishing the new offering. The program is divided into three four-week courses that build upon one another and include Introduction to Pipeline and the Petrochemical Industry, Pipeline Construction and Operation, and Corrosion Control and Regulatory Compliance.
Individuals who completed the three courses include Mary Garcia, Vetrena S. Lendon, James M. Lohman, Gloria Nesloney-Garcia, Jacob J. Ramirez and Matthew Storey. Continuing Education staff also recognized Miguel Garza and Mickayel L. Goddard for completing the Corrosion Control and Regulatory Compliance course.
Students learned about pipeline industry history and development, oil fields, pump stations and oil movements. Through coursework and hands-on learning, students also developed a foundation for a growing and sustainable career, right here in the Coastal Bend.
“Students become very familiar with industry language, safety and operations,” says Hayen. “Employers like the fact these individuals have considerable pipeline knowledge and vocabulary as compared to new hires who they must train from the get-go.”
More advanced level courses are available upon completing this introductory program. Those additional courses cover blueprint reading, coercion control as well as Federal policies, procedures and guidelines.
As members of the first cohort to complete the program, Lendon and Lohman spoke during the ceremony.
Lendon, age 42, moved to Corpus Christi from North Carolina four years ago with her family after her husband took a job in the area. She began a home-based business but has 17 years of manufacturing and safety experience in industry. She chose to complete the College’s Pipeline Training Program to “become a more marketable asset to the local economy.”
I felt as though the pipeline industry would tie all my experience together since most industry in the area utilizes pipelines as the mode of transportation for deliverabless. The program is excellent because our instructor has extensive industry experience on the pipeline and has given us so many real-world applications that marry with very technical information.
Lendon is being interviewed by ExxonMobil.
On the other hand, Lohman has already been offered a job by Gulf States Pipeline Operations as a safer man. The 54-year-old was skeptical of taking the courses at first, but he’s now convinced he’s ready for his new job.
Regarding employment and individuals looking to be part of the fastest growing industry in our area, this is a must-take pipeline classs. From the first class, I was hooked and have learned much more than I ever expected; but of course, the class is only as good as the instructor.
“Regarding employment and individuals looking to be part of the fastest growing industry in our area, this is a must-take pipeline class,” he says. “From the first class, I was hooked and have learned much more than I ever expected; but of course, the class is only as good as the instructor.”
Lohman says that Lopez’s knowledge and experience in the pipeline industry was invaluable since he shared on-the-job experiences not covered in their textbooks. “Not only did he explain how things work but also showed us during field trips. Being out in the field brought classroom knowledge and practical application together.”
“I was blessed with a wonderful 35-year career working in pipeline, put food on the table and a roof over our heads and educated myself and my family, so I thought to myself, who would not want that for their family,” added Lopez. “I decided to teach the public about the little-known industry of pipeline with the goal to pass on my knowledge to as many people as possible, make a positive impact and give back to our community.”
To familiarize individuals with the pipeline industry, DMC Continuing Education will offer a free three-hour introduction session to the field from 6 to 9 p.m. on June 13, July 18 and Aug. 15.
The Pipeline Training Program’s next cohort will begin Sept. 10 with classes available from 9 a.m. to noon and from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Total cost for all three courses is $540.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.