Twelve students made history on March 29, graduating from FieldCore’s first-ever Field Engineer Boiler Training class.
This specialized 10-week course, conducted at GE’s Houston Learning Center (HLC), was 18-months in the making as GE and FieldCore training managers, the design development team and subject matter experts developed the curriculum, took feedback from experienced boiler engineers, gathered training equipment, and selected the candidates to participate in the pilot program.
Since GE acquired Alstom’s grid and thermal services in 2015, we have placed a renewed emphasis on boiler inspection and repair work. Customer demand for boiler inspection and repair services is high, and with projections that many of our current boiler FEs will retire in the next few years, there is a critical need to recruit and train new field engineers now in this technology.
The students came from around the United States and Canada with diverse backgrounds. Some were recent graduates, some brought years of experience in a variety of industries including automotive and petroleum.
What they shared was the desire to be a part of the power industry.
Alvaro Garcia is a mechanical engineer who worked for two years in the automotive industry. When the opportunity came, he jumped at the chance to join FieldCore. “The opportunity to develop my career, to travel and gain experience in this stage of the company is huge for me,” he said.
Colin Reimer recently graduated from the University of Alberta in Canada. “The Power industry is somewhere I wanted to go,” he said. “I was impressed with FieldCore and how much growth potential there is. What surprised me as I went through this class is the broad nature of the work.”
Students benefited from a mix of lecture plus hands-on training. They spent some time at the GE Service Center in Tyler, TX specializing in pulverizer repair and maintenance. “We were lucky that there was an outage taking place nearby at the Entergy Nelson/NISCO plant,” said Training Manager Mike Jackson. They took advantage of the opportunity, traveling to the site to spend a day at an outage on a coal-fired plant. They were able to compare what they saw in the repair facility in Tyler to components that were in actual operation prior to the outage.
Talking theory or working on equipment in the HLC is one thing, but it’s quite another to go to the site and see the equipment in real-life, Mike noted.
The instructors and training team took feedback from the students about this first pilot class and will use that to improve. Some of the future enhancements will include taking advantage of a new 3-D printer the HLC recently acquired. It will be used to replicate scale models of equipment the students will work with.
We’ll explore expanded use and training on the drone technology to allow remote visual inspections of boiler components and minimize confined space entry. We expect to begin offering basic and advanced drone training at the HLC in the near future.
Graduating class members of the Entry Level Boiler 18-1 are:
- Gregory Zolnick
- Alvaro Garcia
- Drew Daveluy
- Ian Janke
- Richard Hicks
- Terrence McFadden
- Wilfred Guilhen-Puylagarde
- Ryan Diggs
- Macon Leighton
- Cullen Keyes
- Colin Reimer
- Eric Loyle