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Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:12

Cathodic protection classes meet in the industrial technology classroom at SCCC/ATS. Courtesy photos




Whether it’s referred to as rust or its more scientific name, corrosion poses a costly problem for people, assets and the environment. That’s where NACE, the international organization that aims to prevent corrosion, comes in to train and certify industry workers.

This week, NACE brought its industry-standard training to Seward County Community College/Area Technical School. The class is the latest installment in a 23-year partnership with the industry leader.

In cooperation with the college’s Business & Industry division and the Area Technical School, NACE provided CP1 training — that’s cathodic protection training — to a diverse group of students from around the nation.

“I’m taking the class for the certification,” said Jason Carr of Tontitown, Ark., where he installs equipment for gas stations. “I put in the cases and liners, and that requires me to be licensed.”

The class at SCCC/ATS provided a week’s worth of preparation and the exam for Carr to earn the necessary certificate for his work. NACE offers training in 37 locations around the world, but the timing for the SCCC/ATS fit his schedule best. Carr pointed his Harley Davidson north to Liberal, and attended classes at 8 a.m. each morning the week of July 21, at the college’s industrial technology classrooms.

Stephen Prue traveled from Ellensburg, Wash., to attend the NACE training. As that city’s gas engineer, Prue wanted to learn more about corrosion and its prevention.

“Our city’s system is good — it’s steel that was laid in 1950, and it still looks new,” he said. Prue wants to keep it that way.

Instructors Jerome Ettinger and Paul Nichols will give Prue the knowledge and training to do his job successfully. That’s true for the many participants who attended the course as part of on-the-job training for work in the gas and oil industries.

“You really can’t move forward without having this kind of certification,” said James Tune of Big Piney, Wyo. With his jeans and baseball cap, Tune looked more like a high school student than the working man he is. The course, he said, felt a bit like school and a bit like the energy industry job he tackles every day.

Though the local chapter of NACE has sponsored ongoing education events in Liberal for two decades, this is just the fourth time the cathodic protection class has been offered on campus. A few years ago, SCCC/ATS proposed that NACE bring the course to Liberal for the benefit of students enrolled in the college’s corrosion program.

“Our students needed that certification to get better jobs and salary rates,” said Director of Business & Industry Norma Jean Dodge. “These are extra credentials that look good on the resume.”

Since the first session, comprised entirely of SCCC/ATS students, the NACE cathodic protection course has grown to include students from across the nation.

“We’re excited NACE is doing this with us,” Dodge said. “Every time we announce a new session, we’re filled two or three days after word gets out.”

In SCCC/ATS’ recently upgraded industrial technology classroom Tuesday morning, students soaked in lectures by Ettinger and Nichols before moving to the adjacent lab. Ettinger asked the class to gather around a plastic tub crowded with small pieces of pipe, electrical wires and volt-measuring devices. He wanted to demonstrate the difference between iron and copper pipes in contact with water, and the process of reversing electrical current flow to prevent corrosion.

“Look what’s happening here,” Ettinger said as his students leaned in to observe. “The circuit is going this way. It’s starting to interfere with the corrosion. Do we need to increase the current? Or will that just waste money?”

The class discussed possibilities before Ettinger wrapped up the demonstration.

“Any question?” he asked.

Someone ventured, “Will this be on the test?”

Steve Wiens, assistant director of the technical school and occasional substitute corrosion instructor, said Ettinger’s presence on campus offers a tremendous opportunity for students and professionals who want to advance.

“He was a lead instructor in private industry for more than 30 years,” Wiens said. “He knows what he’s talking about, and he knows how to teach.”

Students agree. NACE’s previous CP1 sessions at SCCC/ATS have drawn participants from North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee, Ohio, California, Canada and the many states where oil and gas drilling have experienced rapid growth.

“A lot of times, people could register for NACE training in other locations, but by the time you factor in the course registration, motels, food, and travel — economically, it makes more sense for them to come to good old Liberal, Kansas,” Wiens said. “We’re glad to have them.”

NACE will bring more learning opportunities and world-class instruction to Liberal Oct. 28-30, when the Gas Capital Rectifier School meets in the student activities building on the SCCC/ATS campus. For information, call the Business & Industry office at SCCC/ATS, 620-417-1171.

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