GPA, GPSA celebrate new OSUIT Pipeline Integrity Technology program

TULSA, Okla. (Sept. 25, 2014) - Representatives from the Gas Processors Association (GPA) and Gas Processors Suppliers Association (GPSA) were on the OSU Institute of Technology (OSUIT) campus Thursday for a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony of the newly renovated GPA/GPSA Midcontinent Chapter Classroom in the school’s new Pipeline Integrity Technology program.

The need for skilled engineering technologists that install, operate, maintain, repair and manage the integrity and security of pipelines is on the rise, and the OSUIT program enables students to develop the skills necessary to be successful in the pipeline industry. Major topics of study include safety, assessing pipeline damage and risk, corrosion control, design and integrity management. The midcontinent chapter of GPA and GPSA, incorporated nonprofit trade associations, donated $25,000 toward classroom improvements for the program.

The renovated classroom includes new teaching tools, technology and equipment, as well as classroom supplies and furniture. This most recent contribution, combined with other scholarship and excellence funds donated to the school, brings a cumulative amount of $100,000 donated by the GPA/GPSA Midcontinent Chapter to OSUIT since last summer.

“The millions of Americans who rely on natural gas to heat their homes or cook their meals may not realize it, but they depend heavily upon the skilled and knowledgeable pipeline technicians every day,” said GPA/GPSA Midcontinent Chapter President Brian Leedy, Exterran. “We are proud to help support this vital mission to train and teach our future pipeline integrity technicians who are in such demand across the country.”

The Pipeline Integrity program started in the fall of 2013 with nine students. One year later, the program is full with 20 students and nearly 100 more inquiries into the program so far.

Fernanda Solis, who started in the program this fall, said she became interested in the pipeline industry after hearing the stories and experiences of her father.

"I realized it's a great opportunity and I chose the program at OSUIT because it's not all about classroom lectures, but getting the hands-on training we will need on the job," Solis said. "I like that the companies and sponsors that support the Pipeline Integrity program are committed to the development of young professionals in this industry. I feel grateful that it's giving us, the students, the necessary tools to become successful."

The program began at OSUIT after industry leaders came to the university asking for a training program to help meet the need of skilled technicians in the pipeline field.

“We’re one of the only pipeline integrity programs in the country,” said Dr. Abul Hasan, Engineering Technologies Division chair. “This kind of support for our program is significant and contributions from organizations like GPA and GPSA are how we’ve been able to improve and grow our curriculum and training.”

With more than 2.5 million miles of pipelines in the United States, transporting 65 percent of the country’s oil and nearly all of its natural gas, having skilled workers to maintain that complex network of pipelines is a top concern for the energy industry.

“The growth potential in the pipeline integrity field is unbelievable as we continue to see not only interest from students, but interest from industry professionals who want to be part of this program,” said OSUIT President Dr. Bill R. Path. “We are so thankful to the GPA/GPSA Midcontinent Chapter for recognizing our program and what it’s doing for the industry, and choosing to support the education of the next generation of pipeline technicians.”