North American Oil & Gas Pipelines

SEP 2018

North American Oil & Gas Pipelines covers the news shaping the business of oil and gas pipeline construction and maintenance in North America, including pipeline installation methods, integrity management innovations and managerial strategies.

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20 North American Oil & Gas Pipelines | SEPTEMBER 2 018 napipelines.com George Ragula Distribution Technology Manager, Public Service Electric & Gas Newark, New Jersey Years in the Industry: 41 Hobby: Technical Diving How did you get involved in technical diving? I got started SCUBA diving in 1971 and I've always been an extreme water person, learn- ing to swim at about 2 years old and a big show in my day was Lloyd Bridge's "Sea- hunt" and that got me more interested in diving. Then as I progressed through the Boy Scouts I excelled at swim- ming, I did the 1-mile swim, a couple life guard stints, swam in high school and then in 1971 I got my basic SCUBA certification. I did recreational diving for about 25 years and then I reached a point where I got bored. At dive resorts they treated everyone the same, like they did not know what they were doing and at that time I already had more than 1,000 dives under my belt. I started technical diving in my 40s and went through a series of six ad- vanced certifications all the way to advanced trimix diving and I've been technical diving heavy duty since 1997. Most of my dives are in Cozu- mel, Mexico because there are many places that won't let you dive to these depths for liabil- ity issues. I dive with a group of technical divers and we do tech dive week in Cozumel. Most recently I went down in July to do it again. We'll do 10 dives and the dive times are dependent on depth. Typically, a 300 ft dive will be about 1.5 hours from the time in to time the out and my 500 ft dive was 4.5 hours. What makes technical diving worthwhile? I have probably close to 2,500 dives under my belt since 1971 and 1,000 of those are techni- cal dives. It is a unique type of diving. For me it's all about adrenaline in a sense because if you screw up technical div- ing you could kill yourself. I am one level below an instruc- tor in this area, and I love the adrenaline rush. Anything I see at depth is really big. I've seen big lobsters, big eagle rays, 35-ft long whale shraks and 6- to 7-ft long hammerhead sharks. I typically dive from 250 and 350 ft and I've done 400 ft and my maximum is 500 ft. It's not about visibility it's about the adrenaline and being in an area where the odds are that no one was at that exact spot before when you are at depth. It's high volt- age to the extent that you can expect to see anything. How does technical diving apply to your day-to-day life? I always like learning and I am an adrenaline junkie so the technical diving cascades into some of the car racing things I do and the skiing I do. I've al- ways been curious and I always had a thirst for knowledge, so my role in research and devel- opment parallels that. I am in- volved with a lot of unknowns and while I am experienced in the industry in a variety of different disciplines, when you get into R&D there is always a lot of technical issues and unknowns that surface and it provides an interesting parallel to technical diving. It's a whole different game. It's exciting and there is a wealth of things to learn. I think being an en- gineer made it easy for me be- cause I had a natural affinity towards that. Black Schroeder Business Agent, Local 798 Beaumont, Texas Years in the Industry: 42 Hobby: Raising Bucking Bulls How did you get involved in raising bucking bulls? I started riding bulls and com- peting in rodeos in 1969, rode bulls through high school and continued to ride bulls in the amateur circuits after high school. In 1976 I joined the Professional Rodeo Cow- boys Association and traveled around the country. Back then, bull riding didn't pay that well, if you didn't make the 8-sec- ond whistle you didn't get to eat, so I also worked for vari- ous ranchers and rice farmers. My dad started producing ro- deos in 1974, so I always had plenty of bulls to practice on and even owned bulls myself, I took my money I had saved and bought my first bucking bull when I was 14. I also had a fantasy for welding when I was young, I traded a mare and colt for a 1933 Lincoln Welding machine when I was 12. Then in 1976, probably the greatest thing in my life happen, I mar- ried my wife and best friend. I became a helper member of local Union 798 in 1977, I changed my classification to a welder in 1981. In 1998, my dad quit producing rodeos, but we kept some bulls and cows and started looking into breed- ing more genetically to raise top bucking bulls. What makes raising bulls worthwhile? When my wife Tuffy and I go out to our place and just watch our cows eat and the babies play and we wonder which ones will be superstars when they grow up. We have never bought a single cow, every- thing was bred by her and I, or my father. Our cattle are our life away from our pipeline life. I sell most all of my bulls when they are still babies because of my job, I cannot haul and compete with them, I am to- tally dependent on someone else to do it. Last year I had a 3-year-old that was the Gold Coast Bucking Bull Association 3-year-old Derby Champion. I also had a 4-year-old that com- peted at the PBR Classic events. The biggest thrill of our life was when our bull The Hard Stuff was the PBR Kansas City Classic Champion and quali- fied for the PBR Finals in Las Vegas. The Hard Stuff is back on the PBR circuit this year and just recently had his career high mark of 45 points, mak- ing him the highest marked bull at the event. How does raising bulls apply to your day-to-day life? One thing I have learned about life in 62 years is you should enjoy every minute of it, you don't know how long you will be here. After you reach a cer- tain age time accelerates, you are not wondering where the day went, you are wondering where the years went. No mat- ter what you do in life, do it to the best of your ability and put your whole heart into it, if you do that you can accomplish anything. Clayton Thompson Owner/Operator, Done Rite Daylighting and Oilfield Services Charlie Lake, British Columbia, Canada Years in the Industry: 24 Hobby: Powersports How did you get involved in powersports? I've always been involved in powersports (ATVs, motor- cycles, snowmobiles), and my family is big into outdoor ac- tivities, so, it's natural we enjoy adventures in the backcountry. When I'm not out working on the pipelines and facilities I'm usually riding my bike or rac- ing around in my side-by-side (UTV). The machine I own is a 2016 Yamaha YXZ1000R. It's the first standard side-by- side (SXS) on the market and Yamaha was the first manu- facturer that used a 3-cylin- der snowmobile engine and a divorced transmission in the SXS. Since buying the Yamaha, I've installed an Alba Racing en- gine performance kit, which includes an engine control module that modes the fuel delivery. I've also installed

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