As part of a company-wide commitment to enhance workforce development and diversity outreach across Shell and the broader industry, Shell recently served as an underwriting sponsor and provided volunteer support from Shell Deer Park Chemicals for the North American Process Technology Alliance’s (NAPTA) sixth annual Troubleshooting Skills Competition (TSC).

Held at San Jacinto College’s Center for Petrochemical, Energy and Technology in Pasadena, Texas, the two-day TSC brought together 12 teams from across the U.S. that excelled in a qualifying round conducted at their respective schools. In addition to timed competitive exercises, the students were able to network, practice job interviews and review their resumes.

Rob Perrotta talks troubleshooting ‘bookends’

Production Manager Rob Perrotta had the opportunity to speak to the students during the Friday lunch break. His keynote focused on the importance of troubleshooting as a process technology (PTECH) skill and the need for a bookend approach to the job.

“On one end, if a critical process condition is exceeded you need to act quickly to solve the immediate problem and analyze for the cause later,” Perrotta said. “The other end can involve an abnormality that is still within control limits and enables the operator to take a structured approach to identifying the issue and consult with an engineer, if needed, to achieve resolution.

“A successful operator/process technician is one that can not only play at both bookends but understands the need to act between the bookends based on the actual circumstances,” he said. “They also need to recognize that they may not be able to solve every problem while understanding that early identification of issues and troubleshooting are invaluable to prevent an issue from escalating.”

Support from Shell volunteers

Joining Perrotta was a team of Shell volunteers who supported activities ranging from welcoming remarks to practice interviews and staffing the Shell booth. “They participated on their own time and their dedication and enthusiasm showed that they truly believe in the development of people,” Perrotta said. The group included:

  • Christina Jones, HR Manager, U.S. DE&I
  • Crystal Lovelady-Jackson, Workforce Development Advisor
  • Troy Key - Production Supervisor
  • Christina Smith, Ensure Safe Production (ESP) Focal Point
  • Kenny Rearick, Production Team Lead
  • Garret Key, Operator
  • Mike Zachary, Production Specialist
  • Craig Hensley, Production Specialist
  • Jack Haines, Production Specialist

Home teams take top honors

At the competition’s conclusion, the judges declared that two teams representing San Jacinto College finished first and second. Third place went to a College of the Mainland team from Texas City, Texas.

NAPTA is the standard-bearer of process technology curriculum, auditing degree programs and endorsing community colleges that meet the criteria. NAPTA hosts two annual events that Shell sponsors. In addition to the TSC, an Instructor Skills Conference is held in the fall with a focus on professional skills development for PTECH instructors.

More information is available about Shell U.S. careersoperator internships and scholarships.

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