AMOCO CHEMICAL COMPANY

1981-1984

Amoco practically taught me everything I know about industrial electrical engineering.   They formed me and shaped me for the rest of my life and I owe my career to them.

I interviewed at Amoco during the spring quarter of my freshman year.  It would be an excellant position since I could practically live at home while I worked.  I need to save my money since my sister was in medical school.  I landed the job and began work in September, 1981 as an Instrument and Electrical Engineering Co-op.

Amoco assigned me to David Arnold, one of their four Electrical Engineers in the Mechanical Engineering group.  I actually picked up projects from David and they let me work on active projects that fall.  David taught me the mechanics of electrical engineering in an industrial environment.  Some of his practical approaches continue to help me through some really interesting situations.  I began slowly by rebuilding the paging system in the Waste Treatment area.  But I soon progressed to bigger projects and more responsibility.  By my senior year I had been reassigned to Russ Chasteen, a Senior Electrical Engineer who taught me discipline and details as well as the importance of family.  (Russ had a big family who he really treasured.)

Some of my most memorable times included supervising construction crews in the #2 Paraxylene Unit, rebuilding some old Foxboro pneumatic computers in the #4 and #5 Oxidation Units, troubleshooting the 21,000 hP compressor motors, installing steam turbines in the #2 Utilities Unit and installing Micro Motion mass flow meters in the Oxidation Units.  Amoco also gave me great experiences such as General Electic Synchronous Motor and Switchgear training, trips to the ISA show in Birmingham, teaching me to calculate flow orifaces and the dynamics of control valves, and teaching me the dynamics of vibration analysis (on a really cleaver Hewlett Packard machine before the days of the PC).

It was at Amoco that I saw my first PLCs, a device that would become a big plus to my career.  I programmed a Modicon Micro-84 to run a nitrogen generation unit for one of the Oxidation Units.  I also helped Russ install a Modicon 484 in the PTA units.   Finally, David installed a PLC-2 for the fire pump system.  It was my first look at a T-3 and Remote-I/O.

I don't believe anyone could afford the education Amoco gave me!  I only hope British Petroleum really appreciates the crown jewell she bought from the Americans.

I left Amoco at the end of my co-op term.  They did not have a permanent position available until just after I accepted a job at Diamond Shamrock (Oxy).  Sometimes I wonder if I should have stayed with them.

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