*As seen in Inspectioneering’s online news.

Last November in Dallas, TX, Inspectioneering and Pinnacle hosted a select group of leading industry experts in mechanical integrity for an informal discussion of some of the key challenges facing the industry today.

The main theme for this inaugural forum, which we’ve dubbed the “Meeting of the Minds,” was to discuss how companies are and should be preparing for the eventual retirement of their older workforce; a serious issue now facing many industries and commonly referred to as the “Great Crew Change.”

Participants in the forum included:

  • Clay White, Director of Mechanical Integrity and Inspection for Phillips 66 Company
  • John Reynolds*, Inspectioneering Editorial Board Member and Subject Matter Expert
  • Brent Ray, Inspection Engineering Specialist for Marathon Petroleum Corporation
  • Jim McVay, Senior Manager – Metallurgy and Inspection for Andeavor
  • Ray Konet, Fixed Equipment Reliability Director for Valero Energy Corporation
  • Art Jensen, Director of Mechanical Integrity and Reliability for PBF Energy
  • Mark Geisenhoff, Global Fixed Equipment Lead for Flint Hills Resources
  • Steve Bolinger, Chief Engineer – Engineering Integrity for BP p.l.c.
  • Kevin Birkby, Director of Client Solutions for Pinnacle

*John Reynolds served as moderator for the discussion

During the course of the discussion, the “Great Crew Change” was broken down into two critical challenges:

  1. Companies must find ways to preserve and effectively transfer the institutional knowledge acquired by their retiring engineers, inspectors, etc. over the course of their careers to the younger employees.
  2. Companies must find better ways to recruit and retain top talent to these fields in order to avoid a gap in this critical workforce.

There were many ideas, practices, and programs mentioned as potential solutions to these challenges. One thing on which the participants clearly agreed, was that the industry as a whole must do a better job providing quality training and mentorship to young mechanical integrity professionals. Whether it is in-person or computer-based, comprehensive training programs must be created to capture and effectively transfer information to help employees learn the mechanical integrity landscape and the ins-and-outs of the equipment for which they are directly or indirectly responsible.

Another idea that nearly everyone supported was the creation of an online platform where users could catalog industry incidents (e.g., loss of containment) and near misses, share their opinions and knowledge, and submit questions to other members of the inspection, mechanical integrity, and reliability community. A key concern here was whether the information could be validated, and another involved anonymity for obvious reasons.

This is just a snapshot of the 2+ hour discussion and Inspectioneering will be releasing a more detailed write-up of the event in the coming months.

Inspectioneering would like to thank all of our participants for joining us to discuss these critical issues.  Time is not something anyone has a lot of these days and we sincerely appreciate them dedicating their time to share their thoughts and experiences with our community.

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