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Donor Spotlight

Association of Well Head Equipment Manufacturers

AWHEM funds Petroleum Technology Initiative

AWHEMIn the heart of Houston's Energy Capital, the need to educate students for careers in the oil and gas industry is critical to ensure the success of the industry. Faculty in the College of Technology and its Petroleum Technology Initiative work closely with industry partners to respond to these needs.

Such interactions with industry have led to the endowment of a scholarship by the Association of Well Head Equipment Manufacturers (AWHEM) for students with an interest in the petroleum industry. A formal presentation of the gift was made at AWHEM's March board meeting in Houston.

The Initiative is a workforce development program designed to introduce students to the oil and gas industry. It was founded by Jack Christiansen, a retired executive with 35 years' experience in offshore and onshore oil and gas projects. Program goals include encouraging student interest in oil industry careers requiring highly specialized skills. Industry-specific educational programs such as the initiative are built upon partnerships with local businesses and associations to determine current workforce needs.

In support of its growing interest in the Initiative, AWHEM created a $25,000 scholarship endowment. The interest will be used to fund an AWHEMannual scholarship for students majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology with an interest in the petroleum program. AWHEM has been involved in the Initiative through Ashley George, a long-time College of Technology supporter and AWHEM board member.

"Ashley George has had a working relationship with the College of Technology for a while," said Keith Rhodes, 2009 AWHEM Houston chapter president and a UH alumnus. "He's hired a couple of graduates and he brought [the idea of additional funding for the Petroleum Technology Initiative] to the officers during the 2008 calendar year."

Rhodes says AWHEM is eager to see what the future holds for the Petroleum Technology Initiative. "I think [the initiative] helps prepare the students for the future workforce," Rhodes said. "We're excited to see the range of classes they offer now and what they propose to offer in the future."

Current PTI class offerings include Fundamentals of Petroleum Geology, Valve Designs, Fundamentals of Drilling, Fundamentals of Offshore Systems, Fundamentals of Pipeline Designs, Fundamentals of Surface Production Operations, Downhole Tools and Techniques, Fundamentals of Processing and Camp Red.

For more information on the Initiative, visit the Petroleum Technology Initiative webpage or contact Christiansen at 713.743.5874 or