LTI now features process technology facility

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 25, 2005


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – An open house was held Wednesday at the Louisiana Technical College, River Parish Campus to promote the Process Technology (PTEC) Department and facility.

The open house started with a tour of the PTEC facility, including the methanol plant and the glass labs, and ended with a campus presentation about the courses and ways the campus can help with new hire training.

“We teach to benefit the jobs in the area,” said Dean Dennis Murphy. “We are fortunate to have an operating methanol plant for the students and other professionals for hands on job training.”

In one room, there are computers and radios that actually run the methanol plant. The students get first-hand experience on how a plant works.

“We have the actual running unit,” said PTEC student Jeremy Johnston of LaPlace. “We learn about all the processes, the towers and the mix-feeds.”

After graduation, Johnston will continue his education on process technology at Southeastern Louisiana University. He said the best things about the River Parish Campus is the location, the instructors and the real running plant.

Cody Aubert of Reserve, is in the instrumentation program and enjoys attending the River Parish Campus.

“I had the opportunity to come as a co-op student, while I was in high school,” Aubert said. “It helped me to get ahead and to get a lot of hands on training for working in a plant. The teachers help a lot with job placement.”

In the past, this industry was run mainly by men, but now women are starting to have a hand in the industry. Carole Schreiber of Destrehan is now in her third semester and working towards an associate degree.

“I am re-entering the work force,” Schreiber said. “I knew this was an industry that had a lot of opportunities and something I would love to do. Compared to a four year degree, it is a shorter period of time and be making the same amount of money with a four year degree or even more.”

The campus also offers opportunities for employees in the industry enabling them to be a part of specialized job training. Valero Energy is one of the companies involved in the program.

“I got my job at Valero from taking classes in process technology at this campus,” said Aariel Simon of Welcome and employee of Valero. “I started the PTEC program in August 2004 and was hired at Valero in March this year.”

Simon said she was interested in the industry, because she grew up in this area and realized it was a great opportunity with great pay and excellent benefits.

Another Valero employee Kay Brewer of Garyville, started the program in last year, after about a ten year career in the welding supply business.

“After the industry down-turned, I thought I would go back to school and start a new career,” said Brewer. “I had a couple of years of college already, but then I found this school and started in May 2004. I went through a couple of interviews and got on at Valero, which is the best choice.”

The ladies had agree it is not true that men are the only ones who should be in this industry. Simon said the world has changed and women now want a career and to send their children to school.

“There is a misconception about men not wanting women in this industry,” said Simon. “They are very accepting and want to see you succeed, as well as, they want to succeed. They treat you with respect.”

Brewer added that people should think about the world as a technical place and the need for a different perspective and having the different perspective and opinions will create a better company.

Murphy said their campus wants to capture everybody into their program.

Simon said to realize process technology does not isolate you to doing just process.

“There are so many different jobs and broad job possibilities,” said Simon. “It’s limitless.”