OIL & GAS TECHNOLOGY
NCTC Formally Dedicates New O&G Center
By Barbara Green
The Bowie News
Emily Klement, dean of North Central Texas College-Bowie, said the
establishment of the pioneering oil and gas technology program at the campus,
would not have been possible without the "spirit of outreach and partnership"
from Bowie, the industry partners and college leaders who all shared a common
NCTC-Bowie dedicated its new 6,560 sq. ft. wing Wednesday under beautiful spring
skies, as all those partners cut a yellow ribbon to formally open the facility.
See PHOTO GALLERY of Dedication Festivities
The seed for the program was planted a little more than two years ago, when
energy industry officials came to NCTC asking what could be done to create a
better trained work force, that can meet the technological demands of the
An advisory committee was formed and the idea began to grow
with those same companies offering financial and technical support, while the
Bowie 4B Economic Development Board, which funded construction of the college
campus back in 2000, also provided major funding.
Ground was broken on
the expansion last March on the wing, which fits perfectly on the back of the
original building. It was completed just over a year later.
energy technology class began with 70 students last Fall and completed its first
year with 60 holding on as the classes got more rigorous. Several of these
students will be undertaking summer internships with area companies.
hosted a luncheon prior to the dedication ceremonies to thank the partner
sponsors and community leaders. Billy Giles, program coordinator, shared some of
the trials and tribulations of starting a program from scratch with no
curriculum or instructors.
"My forte’ is building programs in the
community college, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity," said Giles."All the
partners have stepped up whenever I call. Now, we have schools from
Pennsylvania, Canada and Mississippi coming to look at our model, to see what is
going on in NCTC-Bowie."
NCTC-Bowie will be home to one of two oil and
gas technology programs in the State of Texas, as NCTC works with its sister
college, Navarro in Corsicana, which started the same program this year working
with NCTC on a joint $2 million Department of Labor. With NCTC to the north and
Navarro to the south, both ends of the Barnett Shale are served with educational
Will Brackett, managing editor, Powell Barnett Shale
Newsletter, called it a "great day" for NCTC and Bowie," adding they all know
the importance of the value of an education. Brackett said the Barnett Shale is
what made this whole endeavor possible.
"This play is a game changer.
Technology has made this all possible, and it has spawned other plays in the
U.S. and the world. It has unlocked sources of oil and gas we previously could
not attain. The policymakers thought domestic oil and gas production was in an
irreversible decline, but then the shale came. Now, it is projected the U.S. gas
production can supply the nation’s needs for at least 100 years and remember it
is ours. It should change the our energy outlook," explained
The Barnett Shale professional said visits to communities
impacted by the Barnett Shale and shale developments in Pennyslvania, have shown
their impact on communities and without them these cities would be in worse
shape with the present recession.
"Shales are the biggest single
economic hope for these communities. Those towns in Pennyslvania say they have
hope, not seen in 30 years. There is a lot of opportunity out there. The aging
work force in the industry is a challenge. Half of those in the business now
will retire in the next 10 years. These programs fill a need, to provide a new
generation of a workforce," concluded Brackett.
Dr. Eddie Hadlock,
president of NCTC, called it an exciting day for the NCTC family as "dreams and
anticipation turn to reality." He introduced all the industry partners,
remarking in his 35-year career he had never seen so much participation from an
industry in helping a college start a program.
Guests enjoyed touring
the new facilities that include a 1,389 sq. ft. vocational training area and an
816 sq. ft. classroom for the program. The expansion also impacted other student
services as the campus library was relocated to a larger site in the new wing,
adding a computer lab with distance learning abilities and a center for student
tutoring and offices.
Don McClure, EnCana Oil and Gas, made the tour
echoing Hadlock’s excitement.
"Public and private partners is the way to
goes, this one proves it. It is collaboration at its best. Technology will drive
it all and if we don’t work together we won’t be competitive," said
Doug Gossett, Complete Production, said the college did things
right by coming to the industry to see what it needed before forming a program.
"They built a good foundation and shared a vision with other companies.
This is another way to support our youth and better their future," said
Encana committed $400,000 in a two-year pledge to fund the
program; Complete Production pledged $60,000 and EOG Resources gave $100,000.
All the industry partners are providing technical services, training, equipment
and field experience, along with scholarships and internships.
Economic Development leaders thanked the citizens of Bowie for their vision. The
4B group, which funds maintenance and upkeep of the college branch building
through a ED sales tax, contributed more than $500,000 to the project and the 4A
All these partners combined provided more than $1,060,000
Joe Probst, chairman of the 4B Board, said Bowie had a
longtime dream for a college, and pioneered that endeavor by using the ED tax to
"I am so proud of this new facility, it will be a boon to the
community and the students appreciate what has been done," said
Bert Cunningham, 4A Board chairman, said that board’s task is to
create jobs and anything that can be done to gain those, "we are happy to do."
"This is some of our best money spent. I ask you to give the citizens of
Bowie a hand for their forward thinking," said Cunningham as the audience
Randy West of the Bowie Rotary Club announced the group will
donate $5,450 to the college, along with the other Bowie High School
scholarships funded by the club’s annual drawing. Susan Campbell, Bowie Kiwanis,
announced they will donate $4,300 with a portion going to nursing and the rest
to the oil and gas program.
A wide yellow ribbon was cut at the loading
door opening into the new vocational area, as City Manager James Cantwell
announced the facility was officially opened. Brian Posehun, Encana and Joe
Probst, 4B board, used a huge pair of scissors for the event.
reception and a cornerstone leveling ceremony conducted by the Most Worshipful
Grand Lodge of Texas, Order of the Masons followed.