Bellingham Tech Students Visit COM

Posted on: April 18, 2011

Bellingham Tech Students Visit College of the Mainland


Six students from Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, Washington, traveled to College of the Mainland, to learn troubleshooting and operations in the Process Technology Department. This is the fourth year students from Bellingham have made the trip during their spring break.

Bellingham Instructor Tom Carleson said, “The glycol separation unit here at COM is a great tool in teaching students how a refinery operates and the basics of using the software and controls.” The students were able to start up the glycol unit and run it most of the day on Tuesday, March 29. Simon Daugert said, “The glycol unit is a great real-life application of what you learn in the classroom. We have nothing of this scale to learn on in Bellingham.”

Students learned some hands on lab applications and enjoyed the attention to detail from the instructors. “The instructors are great and have a very good style of teaching. They kept the learning interesting and the interaction with them allowed us to understand and learn comfortably. I truly appreciated their Southern hospitality,” said Nick Leininger. Hunter Strickler said, “The instructors at COM have been very helpful and we have had a great time learning from them not only about process technology but about the area. We have had some great food and have had a great time talking with Kim Davis, Mike Cobb and Larry Purswell.”

Students were also able to tour NASA Johnson Space Center, explore the Houston Museum of Natural Science, see the sites at Kemah Boardwalk, take in Moody Gardens, tour the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, view the Texas City Dike and enjoy the beach in Galveston. While at Moody Gardens, the students were able to take a behind-the-scenes tour to see how the pumps and water filtration systems keep the aquarium exhibit running.  “We had a great time at the energy exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The exhibit explained a lot about the petroleum process and it was really hands on and detailed, there was a bunch of equipment and a simulated trip. It was a great experience,” said Brian Aries.

Bellingham Tech’s PTEC program was lunched in 2003 with the help of COM’s PTEC program and Center for the Advancement of Process Technology (CAPT). CAPT supports the development of a highly skilled, educated and diverse process technician workforce for the chemical manufacturing, refining, oil and gas production, and pharmaceutical manufacturing industry sectors. Bellingham Tech has looked into purchasing its own glycol unit but it’s not in the budget at this time. Carleson said the program will continue to head down to COM every spring break to give students hands-on training with the equipment.


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