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40 Years of Fueling AK

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About Us

Josh Lazaro / Intern, Pipeline Integrity Testing (PIT) Program

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? My only expectation was that I would be held to a high performance standard without regard to the task assigned.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting and educational project I have worked on has been verifying line classes for facility corrosion drawings. This project has allowed me to utilize and combine my mechanical engineering studies with the knowledge I have accumulated by working with extremely talented engineers at Alyeska. The most interesting aspects of this project include the critical thinking involved in verifying line classes without being able to physically examine the piping, as well as the precautions necessary to ensure the safety of TAPS.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? Sose Vartanian was the person who mentored me the most. Any question I had she would continually take the time to assist me and give advice.  Not only did she spend time giving me work-related advice, she gave me career and life advice as well. She worked diligently to ensure I would persevere as an intern with Alyeska and at life.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. My favorite experience through the duration of my internship was driving from Fairbanks to Pump Station 1. Being able to physically view and understand how the pump stations were designed is a pertinent advantage and skill. I was able to speak with tremendously knowledgeable technicians and operators who were able to answer any questions I had.

Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. Being involved with the TAPS culture has trained me to recognize how every task performed can involve each of the five attributes in one way or another. As my internship comes to completion, I have been able to identify the most with the Making Sound Decisions attribute. All of the tasks I’ve been involved in have emphasized the importance of making sound decisions, particularly when verifying risk factors in the facility corrosion database.

Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? Alyeska is an excellent company! The reason Alyeska is such a profound company is because of the people who work there. Everyone works as a cohesive group, and to the best of their abilities to ensure the integrity of TAPS.

Adam Emrick / Intern, B Crew, Pump Station 1

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? When I first started, I had no idea what I was going to be getting myself into. I did not have any fellow students that I knew of who had previously done the internship. I just expected a lot of hustle, in a fairly strict setting.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting and educational project that I was a part of this summer was the troubleshooting of Accutek wireless transmitters. It was a fairly simple task, however, I had not had a chance to work with wireless instrumentation systems up to that point.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? I was mentored by the lead technician at Pump Station 1, Mr. John Draper. He was very easy to get along with and never stopped pushing me. His style of leadership was incredibly effective, and it was seen most by the level of respect every single technician had for him.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. My favorite experience during my internship was when we conducted oil spill response training. I first learned about the techniques used during a classroom session, but it truly was made memorable when I saw the PS1 team in action on the river. The tactics that were used, in conjunction with using an airboat, were highly effective and surprisingly fast.

Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. I’ve learned that the level of preparation that goes into each job is extensive. Not only does every maintenance task have a checklist, but it requires the technician to fully go over the procedure as well as look in to each drawing that deals with the task at hand. I believe that this follows closely with “Taking a System View.” This is one of the number one things that must be done prior to taking on a procedure, as any mishap could lead to a chain reaction that could cause a shutdown of the pipeline.

Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? The number one thing that impressed me was the fact that from day one, I did not feel like an intern. Every single Alyeska employee that I interacted with enthusiastically greeted me and was more than willing to stop what they were doing in an instant to make sure that I knew what was going on. Another thing that impressed me was the safety culture. Most companies can talk day and night about safety, but very few can actually successfully employ it to the degree that Alyeska does.

I would like to thank everyone at Pump Station 1 for a fun and informative summer. I am also very thankful for everyone at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for providing such a great opportunity.

Allyson Payne / Intern, Information Technology

Was this your first internship on TAPS? I have two summer internships, last year and this year.

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? My expectations were to learn more about the company and build business relationships. Last summer I learned a lot about APSC, but I knew I had not learned everything. Having a second internship has only built on top of what I have already learned and I was able to contribute more based on the knowledge I already had.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting and educational project that I worked on was the IT SharePoint website. The current SharePoint tool is on a 2007 platform. It was a challenge to build a lot of the site’s content with the limited functionality. It took a great deal of creativity, improvising, and planning to get a final result.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? The person that has created a positive influence and that really brought value to my internship was the CIO, Bill Rosetti. I have had various meetings with Bill, and he has always put things into perspective. In meetings that were directly related to projects I was working on, he took the time to explain concepts or give me better direction. I have learned a lot from just listening to Bill speak and give his perspectives on things. 

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. My favorite experiences working at APSC was meeting new APSC employees. An important part of a company is its employees. And employees are a huge reflection on the company. I have had nothing but great experiences meeting new employees which always reaffirms how great a company Alyeska is.

Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. I have learned that TAPS really takes pride in their culture and instills it in all employees. I think creating the 5 cultural attributes is proof of that. I think it is important that the company has created these attributes to better the company as well as the employees. I have been able to identify with all of the attributes but the one that I identify with the most is Learn, Improve and Innovate. I think as an intern it our job to learn and contribute the knowledge we have to better improve the business.

Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? I think TAPS is a great company and I really admire the work that the employees do. Each employee is an important part of the company that helps reach the end goal of delivering oil. I also think that it is great that the company has an internship program. I think having an internship program shows an extension of how the company wants to learn and grow.

Eric Francisco / Intern, HR & Corporate Communications

Was this your first internship on TAPS? This is my first internship on TAPS. I was fortunate enough to begin my internship early on April 15.

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? I expected my internship on TAPS to be challenging, rewarding, and a kick-start to my career.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? I’ve enjoyed all of my projects working for TAPS. However, I’m currently working on a project for the Alaska Native Program moving their various applications from paper format to electronic. This project has been the most educational as it has allowed me to learn and become proficient with Microsoft InfoPath and SharePoint.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? Tabetha Toloff and Dorothy Lord-Matthew have been my primary mentors. Dorothy knows APSC inside and out and has been invaluable in sharing her extensive knowledge with me.

Tabetha is a master of communication. Communication has been a large part of the work I’ve been doing this summer. Tabetha has been a shining example of communicating effectively with people to move your work forward.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. One of my favorite experiences has been to travel to the village of Tatitlek in Prince William Sound. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend their Peksulineq Festival with APSC President Tom Barrett.

Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. I’ve learned that the TAPS culture is a safety culture. All employees seem to be conscious of the fact that we are conducting risky work with zero room for error. Safety is the top priority for TAPS. I strongly identify with Taking a System View in my role as the Executive Intern. I have worked with the Alaska Native Program, Corporate Communications, and Human Resources. This work has taken me to both Fairbanks and the Valdez Marine Terminal. I have seen how the different locations of APSC affect one another and it has allowed me to Take a System View on my work moving forward.

Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? During this internship I’ve learned that TAPS is the lifeblood of our state. The importance of the work done by TAPS employees cannot be overstated. This notion is felt throughout the company and contributes to TAPS overall success.

Samuel Denison / Intern, Operations & Maintenance

Was this your first internship on TAPS? This is my second summer at Pump 1.

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? Knowing that I was going to be at the same place as last summer, I wanted to dive into my field of study as much as possible (instrumentation). It turned out that this year has been more meaningful because of the variety of work I was able to learn. Not only did I gain valuable lessons with instrumentation, I was introduced to SCADA, mechanical, and utility operations.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting work I participated in was when I was helping Dave Sanders with SCADA. We were working on the data lines for Northstar metering in the control room. The reason this was the most interesting work was because SCADA is a completely new field. I found the craft to be interesting and enjoyable to work in and, hope I have more opportunity to work with SCADA in the future.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? I have spent the last two summers with Wil Previtt as my mentor, and have enjoyed the entire time. I have worked with many people that were designated as a “mentor” in other careers but the difference being that I consider Wil not only as a mentor but a friend. It would be great to work with him again in the future. Throughout the summer he continually pushed me to explore other crafts while allowing me to perform work that would allow me to grow as a technician.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. The most memorable experience I had this summer was being able to work some overtime at Pump 4. Wil and I drove down to Pump 4 from 1 to do some work on a fire system, during which I was able to see how other pump stations operated. After work we took a hike up one of the mountains just north of Pump 4.

What you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. I have always thought that System View is the most important cultural attribute that a technician needs to know. The reason being is as technicians, the work being performed on any given equipment has direct effects to the process at the station. Knowing what these effects are allows the tech not only to know what to do or what not to do, but develops a technician that is of better quality in regards to troubleshooting problems that arise with the system.

Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? I have never worked at a better place than Alyeska. I say this because of the attitude that others have towards me. I have been treated with the upmost respect as an intern with everyone being more than willing to go above and beyond concerning my development as a technician. 

Norman Carlo / Intern, ROW & EP&C

Was this your first internship on TAPS? I have had two internships with TAPS. One as a technician intern and the other with the ROW & EP&C team.

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? To learn as much as I could from the Alyeska employees, the operations, and safety culture.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? Updating documentation to comply with Alyeska’s Contingency Oil Spill Plan. It has been a few years since I used excel and this task required me to use the program. It really helped me to get stronger and more comfortable with using excel.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? Frank Duncklee: He showed me many things along the ROW and shared his knowledge with me about the pipeline and gave me tips on how to be a stronger employee for the future.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. Working as dispatch at the Middle Fork Koyukuk Oil Spill Drill. It was my first time working in a position like that. It was a challenge and also fun.

Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: Making sound decisions: Working with Alyeska really helped me to make sound decisions by being more careful not just at work but, in my personnel life as well.

Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? Alyeska is a great company that treats there employees well. TAPS is excellent because there is great communication between all the Alyeska employees.

I really enjoyed these past two summers working for Alyeska as an intern. I learned a lot that can help me in my future goals in becoming an employee for Alyeska. Thank you.

Raymond Kangas / Intern, Integrity Management

"Getting the job done is important, but that is only half of the mission. The other half is getting everybody through it safely."

Was this your first internship on TAPS? This is my second summer internship with APSC.

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? I knew that I was going back to the same position I had last summer with the same mentor and supervisor. Last year I was more like a learner or so it felt like, with only a couple big projects. This year I can definitely say I am more of a producer; my mentor and supervisor have assigned me a lot more tasks this summer than last.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? This is a hard question to answer; I have had two projects this summer that seem to come in a tie. After a little leak found at an RGV this summer, I put together data on all of the below-ground valves on the mainline, followed by a report explaining my methods. The other project is the work I done with the valve testing this summer, including working with others reviewing the procedures, creating and presenting a valve testing presentation explaining the hydraulics behind it, and participating in the valve tests.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? I’ve learned a lot from Russ Bonar. He is the Senior Valve Engineer I work under. We worked together in three valve tests during three separate 18 hour shutdowns, and we’re preparing for another valve test during the upcoming August 9 shutdown.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. So far my favorite experience this summer is the valve testing during the June 8 shutdown. Russ and I drove up to Pump Station 4 for half a week. I put a request in for a vehicle from fleet, and received an awesome truck for the roughly 350-mile road trip. I hung out with my brother at Pump Station 4, and dined at the PLQ there. Most importantly I played a more integral role in the valve testing since I am OQ qualified to open and close bypass valves on mainline valves.

Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture. One of the lessons I learned firsthand is the Make Sound Decisions attribute. I have sat in on a lot of meetings this summer. The majority of the meetings are valve testing related, and what came up a lot in the discussions was safety for the people working out in the field. Getting the job done is important, but that is only half of the mission. The other half is getting everybody through it safely. Alyeska from my view does not beat around the bush on safety, which is good.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with TAPS this summer; it is a good experience to remember while I finish up my degree.

Marquita Wyche / Intern, Accounting Team

"The Alyeska internship program should be modeled in other companies. This is not an internship where interns have zero responsibility or accountability. It is one that will challenge you to utilize your skills for the betterment of the company."

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? My expectation when this internship started was to gain an overall overview of the accounting department. To be able to do relevant work that will benefit the company. Lastly, even as an intern have the ability to communicate openly with the team.  These expectations were fulfilled even more so than I expected.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting and educational project that I worked on was Koch Ownership Transfer research. I had to research various accounts and their associated projects, find invoices that and make a spreadsheet that correlated with the Trial Balance. I found it interesting because the research I was doing was going to the owners.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? Kathleen Hoffman is someone who mentored me throughout my summer internship at Alyeska. She not only trained me in how to complete Accounts Receivable billings, but she also alerted me to new opportunities within Alyeska.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. One of my favorite experiences during this internship was being able to go to the TAPS1 Club Annual Picnic. I was able to mingle with my co-workers, while also inviting my niece to enjoy all the activities provided. Their favorite part was the horse riding!

Also, one of my favorite experiences was our intern meetings that we had throughout this summer. Our meetings were focused around the cultural attributes; each intern had to give an example of how they used the cultural attributes in their respective departments. It was a good opportunity for me to learn more about Alyeska and the projects the other interns were working on.

Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture. The TAPS culture is one that is focused around the safety of its workers, also on integrity and team work. TAPS culture, is in the air from the moment you walk in the door. It is showed in employee’s actions and the way that we do business. In the accounting department I identified with all of the cultural attributes, one that I will discuss is Making Sound Decisions. When researching data for the Koch ownership transfer I had to make sound decisions to decide what information to utilize in my spreadsheet. I focused on the high dollar amounts first, instead of trying to match a $0.19 amount to the Trial Balance.

Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? The most important impression that I have of Alyeska is that everyone is a family; a tight-knit community that is working toward the same goal. Employees take care of each other whether it’s ensuring safety on the line, or helping an employee better understand their duties in the office. The Alyeska internship program is one that should be modeled in other companies. This is not an internship where interns have zero responsibility or accountability. It is one that will challenge you to utilize your skills for the betterment of the company.We are a dedicated group, with a dedicated staff to guide us.

Kyle Tee / Intern, Facility Engineering

"Ever since I started to work in the Valdez Terminal I have heightened my safety awareness to ensure that I am making sound decision every day when I am out in the field and everything I do."

Was this your first internship on TAPS? This is my second Internship with Alyeska. My first Internship was in Anchorage in Project Engineering.

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? My expectation for this internship was to learn more information about Valdez and what type of work is involved here. Accepting this internship in Valdez I knew that I would be seeing more of the pipeline and being away from a cubical a little bit more than if I was in Anchorage and I was excited for that.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting project I worked on is a design of a snow shelter to access a valve. The reason why it is so interesting is because the space to place a snow shelter is very limited. There is only about 28 inches between the building and a tank and during the winter snow is falling off of the structures and building up between them. So far the design is incomplete but it has been an enjoyable experience with it.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? Todd Carsten: he gave, helped and guided me on all of the projects I worked on this summer. When we go out into the field I tend to be very observant and ask a lot of questions and Todd has done an outstanding job in providing me with answers to my questions.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. My favorite experience would be the morning that Carol and Jeff Simmons given me the opportunity to kayak to work. It was terribly early in the morning but the whole scenery was beautiful. We didn’t encounter any wildlife of any sort but it was an awesome way start off the day.

Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture. From this internship I have a greater understanding of the five cultural attributes than I had last summer. The attribute that I most identified with is Making Sound Decision. Ever since I started to work in the Valdez Terminal I have heightened my safety awareness to ensure that I am making sound decision every day when I am out in the field and everything I do.

Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? My last impression I will have of APSC’s will be the extraordinary safety environment that I was given the opportunity to work in this summer.

Marjorie Valdez / Intern, Project Engineering

"At school, in a classroom of 80 students, it is really easy to keep quiet and wait for another classmate to ask the question that you have. But in the workplace when you are given responsibility and important work to do, you can’t sit around and wait for someone to ask a question for you."

What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? I expected a lot coming into this internship. I had a couple friends who interned with Alyeska last summer, and they really enjoyed it. They told me that everyone that they encountered was really friendly, and that everyone made it clear that they want the interns to succeed. I recently graduated from college and I was excited to start this internship because I was hoping it would give me a good view of the engineering industry and a better idea of where I want to go with my career in mechanical engineering.

What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most educational project I worked on was creating a Minor Modification package for Facility Engineer, Ed Davis, at Pump Station 4. I was lucky enough to get the chance to leave the office for a week and get some hands on field experience at Pump 4. While there, Ed was not afraid to give me some responsibility in working on the modification package for work to be done at Pumps 3 and 4. I was able to take part in a lot of the engineering process while working on this package. I discussed different solutions for the work orders with engineering SME’s (Subject Matter Experts), and decided on the right choice with Ed. I filled out safety and environmental checklists that were submitted to specialists in those areas so that any related risks could be assessed and discussed. I was able to alter necessary design drawings. I even drafted up the implementation instructions which would be used by the workers who complete the work. This project allowed me to learn about the engineering process, and also let me experience the weight of responsibility when you put your name on important documents.

Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? My supervisor, Patty Miller, really mentored me this summer. She may not have been the one that I directly completed work for, but she always did her best to make sure she found work or someone to give me work so that I was constantly busy and challenged this summer. Since I am a recent graduate, she’s also done her best to give me the broadest view of the technical side of Alyeska. Not only did Patty help guide me through this internship, but she gave me advice and suggestions on my career path which is sadly guidance that I did not get much of while in school.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. One of my favorite experiences during this internship was riding in a helicopter with a P&CM while I was working up at Pump 4 in July. Another intern and I were able to tag along with the P&CM during an aerial surveillance round of the ROW from Pump 4 to Pump 1. I had never been in a helicopter or seen any of the pipeline along this stretch, so I got to knock them both out at once. This was not only a fun helicopter ride; I was able to be observe another piece of making sure that the pipeline is safe and intact by ensuring that there were no potential risks or hazards along the ROW.

Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture. I have learned a lot about the TAPS culture here at Alyeska. Everyone is very intent on making sure that every act is carried out safely in order to keep up the strength of pipeline operations and all of the employees. I have personally identified with the cultural attribute “Speak up – Step Up.” At school, in a classroom of 80 students, it is really easy to keep quiet and wait for another classmate to ask the question that you have. But in the workplace when you are given responsibility and important work to do, you can’t sit around and wait for someone to ask a question for you. In order to really learn and envelope yourself in your work and the workplace, you have to speak up and ask questions. The workplace is very open here at Alyeska, and everyone is always willing to help when I have a question.

Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? My impression after weeks of working on TAPS is that all of the people working on TAPS - Alyeska and contractors - are all one big family. Everyone understands the importance of the integrity of the pipeline and its importance to Alaska’s economy. Everyone always seems genuinely happy to see you, whether in the office or out in the field. Even people you don’t know will say hi or smile when you walk by. People are interested in what type of work I’m doing as an intern and never hesitate to offer to help. I feel like I’ve become part of a community while working at Alyeska, even in this short period of time.

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