After retiring from the oil & gas industry in 2015 following a 40+ year career in various technical and management positions within operations and maintenance I began working as a contract consultant for Marshall Institute, a Maintenance and Equipment Reliability consulting and training company based in Raleigh, North Carolina with clients on every continent except Antarctica.
As Marshall Institute works with clients from every area of industry my job assignments are extremely varied and very interesting. I often tell family and friends I am living the dream in my new role. It doesn’t matter whether they are making aircraft components, automobiles, fork trucks, food products, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, chemicals, energy, mining for ore, producing oil and gas, or any of the myriad of products that go into the things that we use every day, it still takes people, processes, technology, and equipment to do what they do. Anytime I see a product on the shelf in a store or doing whatever it does, I now have a deeper appreciation for it and what it took to make it as I have seen their processes firsthand, and the issues faced no matter our industry are similar across the board.
As I interact with people from varied industries coming together in our public training seminars, it is interesting to see the epiphany when someone from a food processing plant hears someone from a mining company relate an issue causing barriers in their operation and says “we have the same problems at our plant”. It creates a great forum for people to discuss and look for solutions to common problems as we learn together.
An example of the vast differences between the jobs I am assigned took place last year when I was performing World Class Maintenance Training with personnel from sugar processing plants in North Dakota for three weeks with temperatures well below zero degrees Fahrenheit, and then traveling to Trinidad for a month to assess and train Maintenance Planners at an oil and gas production facility with tropical temperatures, all within a two month timespan.
In addition to facilitating public training courses across the United States, I have enjoyed the opportunities of working with great people onsite at chemical plants, liquified natural gas plants, a plant that makes rings for high school and college graduates and championship sports teams, airports, food processing plants, oil and gas production and processing facilities, and a high security data center to name a few.
In the past five years in this role of a consultant I have seen and experienced things I never would have had the opportunity to do, had I just hung it up when I retired from my career in oil and gas. As I am now nearing 70 years of age I’m often asked how much longer I plan to continue what I am doing, and my answer is “as long and I am able to contribute and add value to others and am having fun doing what I am doing”.