Students with College of the Mainland and Houston Community College Participate in NAPTA TSC challenge.
Students with College of the Mainland and Houston Community College Participate in NAPTA TSC challenge.

College of the Mainland’s (COM) ICB and STEAM building were bustling with Process Technology (PTEC) students from nine different community colleges and technical schools as COM hosted the seventh annual North American Process Technology Alliance (NAPTA) Troubleshooting Skills Competition (TSC) for the first time on April 18 and 19.

A two-day event, the NAPTA TSC gives PTEC students the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills, as well as network and meet with industry leaders. Starting with a day of mock interviews, activities and challenges, students competing in the competition and COM PTEC students in passing, were able to meet with industry leaders including British Petroleum (BP), Shell and Eastman in the event sponsor area. Closing out the two-day event, competition day involved teams accurately resolving four scenarios on a process operator simulator and control board simulator. Clenching the first and second place spot was Lamar Institute of Technology, with the COM Aces team placing third.

“[NAPTA TSC] is not just about trouble shooting,” said Durell Brown, COM PTEC student and NAPTA TSC participant. “It’s branding yourself and connecting with others to help you be successful in this career.”

A facilitator and partner of NAPTA for the TSC, Systran Custom Learning Solutions has been designing the exercises and simulator used in the competition since the competition's inception.

“This competition came about because industry recognized that having operators capable of critical thinking and problem solving is really valuable to them,” said David Hirsch, CEO of Systran Custom Learning Solutions. “Being able to get more confidence and better insight on how a plant operates, are the big advantages of the participating in the competition.”

The North American Process Technology Alliance is the standard–bearer of the PTEC curriculum. The NAPTA audits PTEC degree programs in North America and endorses those that meet its criteria. Several colleges have received the NAPTA endorsement including COM. Event sponsors of the 2024 NAPTA TSC include BP, Eastman, Formosa Plastics, INEOS, Kairos Power, Marathon, Refined Technologies (RTI), Shell, Simtronics, Cheniere, LyondellBasell (LYB) and Systran.

The College of the Mainland PTEC program provides innovative and dynamic learning opportunities for students through labs, hands-on classes and industry-grade operating equipment.

For more information about the College of the Mainland Process Technology program, visit