Posted by Jay W. Curry

We had a chance to sit down with Kerry Millen & James Lindlof, Executive Director and President of the Society of Piping Engineers & Designers, about the state of their industry while at ValveWorld Americas 2017 in Houston.

Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.


Jay Curry: And we’re back. Hello Texas. Welcome back to Texas Business Radio. I’m Jay Curry, your host for this segment. We’re going to have some fun, this is going to be a good one. I have two guest. So, Matt has stepped out to try to corral everybody else that’s getting ready to get on. We’re down at the Valve World Conference America’s 2017 in the George R. Brown Center in downtown Houston. And we’re having a lot of fun. There’s a lot of good people, a lot of businesses and this really represents the entire world. Doesn’t it? And I’ve never seen so many people from all over the world. As well as a lot of Texas companies. So let me, before we get started, remind everybody that you can go to Texas Business Radio and every minute, of every program, all of our guests, it’s all there in high definition color. You’re going to love that. Just sit back, relax. If you want to call us, we have a 24 hour call line 844-814-8144. Call us any time, we’ll get the answer, we’ll get it on the program for you. Also we monitor #TBR on Twitter. That’s #TBR, like Texas Business Radio. So that’s how you can get a hold of us. Sit back, relax. We’re going to have a fun time in this segment because we’re talking about the Society of Piping Engineers and Designers. and we have Kerry Millen.

Kerry Millen: Correct.

Jay Curry: OK. And the new CEO, James Lynn…

James Lindlof: Lindlof

Jay Curry: Lindlof. Alright. Delighted to have you here. What the heck is the Society of Piping Engineers and Designers? What’s that all about?

Kerry Millen: Well, Jay, thank you for first of all inviting us. What the Society of Pipping Engineers and Designers is. It’s actually a training program and a personal development system that we have. It’s actually learning online with video. And a certification program where we can actually, you can go from PPD level 1 to PPD level four. A couple of things like watching a pipe, a pipe routing. It covers mechanical equipment, it covers B313. Which is a standard. And as well as it covers stress and other topics like materials and mechanical equipment and perhaps drive cam.

Jay Curry: Valve. So it’s basically an education society to help people come up to speed, learn. You can actually get certified. Which means you have something that says you really do know the stuff.

James Lindlof: And it looks good on your resume.

Jay Curry: Right. Okay. And it’s all focused around piping engineers.

James Lindlof: Correct.

Jay Curry: James, what the heck’s a piping engineer?

James Lindlof: Piping engineer is a person that specifies and all the piping components which is in a piping system. We do valves, specialty items, kind of like a pipe wall. We don’t go so much into the flow going through the pipe but we also, also do design and hydro testing of the piping systems. We’ve actually built a plant from ground up until it’s turned on.

Jay Curry: As it relates to the piping.

James Lindlof: As it relates to the piping.

Jay Curry: Which can get very sophisticated like you know refineries and things of that sort.

James Lindlof: It covers everything.

Jay Curry: Okay, from big pipes, little pipes, all pipes.

James Lindlof: Yes.

Kerry Millen: It covers everything and in covers on shore, covers off shore.

James Lindlof: Underground.

Kerry Millen: On the ground, under ground. Yeah.

James Lindlof: High temperature.

Jay Curry: Are these a field that you can go to college and get a degree in? I mean piping engineers sounds like industrial engineering, mechanical engineering.

James Lindlof: At one time there was. Back in, back in the day the University of Houston downtown, they used to have a program. It no longer exist. so we use that.

Jay Curry: A lot and you were created to fill the void.

James Lindlof: Correct.

Kerry Millen: Correct.

Jay Curry: Very interesting. Where do you get and find people…

James Lindlof: Recruiting.

Jay Curry: To be piping engineers?

Kerry Millen: Well, you find these days, a lot of people are actually coming out of the mechanical group. They go to school and they’re doing…

Jay Curry: Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Kerry Millen: Yeah. They do a mechanical degree. However mechanical and piping are totally different. And with, with piping we cover materials, piping engineers we cover materials. Like we select all the materials sometimes that’s used. We write specifications that’s use in the refined or offshore. And we go from anything from GOP which just glass reinforced plastic right up to titanium, templeum. So…

Jay Curry: You name it.

Kerry Millen: You name it. Yeah.

Jay Curry: So let me see if I figure this out, we are… They would generally be an educated group. Right?

James Lindlof: Actually we can go and we recruit from the universities.

Kerry Millen: Yeah.

Jay Curry: That’s where I was going. Like just somebody had a mechanical engineer, you probably advertise, you’d have a specialty, right?

James Lindlof: Correct.

Jay Curry: What you offering is education, training, the whole ball of wax. Through the internet or online classes?

Kerry Millen: We do online classes and we can do personal classes. And it’s more orientated for on the job training. We also cover PIND’s. We cover ISO’s. We actually teach have to do just about everything.

Jay Curry: How long a program is this? Can you started on Monday and be finished on Friday.

Kerry Millen: No.

Jay Curry: Somehow I didn’t think so. Especially for a mechanical engineer.

James Lindlof: It’s an on going process from day one all the way till about 20 years.

Jay Curry: Wow. And are there different levels? You know I’m a certified coach. Associate, accredited, theres professionals, there’s master.

James Lindlof: We have interns all the way up to what you’d be a senior lead.

Jay Curry: Okay, how many people are you tracking then? This has got to be a large number.

Kerry Millen: Oh, we, we actually have, we got a lot of people from Nigeria. We got a lot from Asia.

Jay Curry: All over the world.

Kerry Millen: All over the world, were international.

James Lindlof: 1,500, if I’m not mistaken.

Kerry Millen: Yeah.

Jay Curry: And you are a member, run organization.

Kerry Millen: That’s correct. We are a member run organization and memberships, we have, like as you know James is president for the Houston chapter. And we have, what we call in the evening, every three months, we have what they call a PDU for professional development. To upkeep…

Jay Curry: Getting credit.

Kerry Millen: Getting credits.

Jay Curry: Keep your certification that type of thing.

Kerry Millen: That is correct, yeah. Yeah. So we have, what we call it “the man learns”, it’s a lunch and learn.

Jay Curry: How do you get funded then?

Kerry Millen: Well, we rely a lot on our members and a lot of corporations to actually sponsor us or to provide training courses for us. And that kind of thing.

Jay Curry: Okay. Outstanding. You’re actually a pipe engineer?

James Lindlof: I’m a piping engineer that specializes in valves.

Jay Curry: So, it’s not a pipe engineer. I said piping but it’s pipe engineer.

James Lindlof: It’s piping.

Jay Curry: It’s piping not pipe, okay.

Kerry Millen: It’s piping designers and piping engineers.

Jay Curry: I guess you smoke a pipe.

James Lindlof: Yeah.

Kerry Millen: Piping design and engineers. These two classes in piping. Well there’s even more because you have the materials section, you have the valve section, you have the stress section and you have the design. Where we do everything from Greenfield to Bronzefield to, to everything. So…

Jay Curry: It must be HUGE, must be a library that’s just filled. So these are courses though. You can’t just go pick a book out of a library and learn about it. You got to go through a formal…

James Lindlof: Need a mentor.

Jay Curry: How does somebody to do that, if they want to know more about it? Maybe there are an engineer of some sort and they want to learn more about the association and maybe become certified.

James Lindlof: Contact us.

Jay Curry: Where do they start?

Kerry Millen: Yeah, the mode to contact us, we actually have a Web site. Which is called spedweb.com.

Jay Curry: Better spell that.

Kerry Millen: Spedweb.com. And it has all the information on there. So, they can actually see what they are reviewing and what our curriculum is.

Jay Curry: Very, very interesting and when I met you guys I was fascinated. Filling a definite void that we have since the university dropped it. Folks, we’ve been talking to James Lindlof.

James Lindlof: Correct.

Jay Curry: Got that one. And Kerry Millen.

Kerry Millen: Correct.

Jay Curry: Of The Profession, The Society of Piping Engineers and Designers. We’re gonna have to break. Get a cup of coffee, relax, pay some bills. But we’re going to be coming right back. Matt’s going to be joining us and we’re going to have some more fun. Stay with us. This is Jay Curry, your host. Texas Business Radio. We’ll be right back.

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About the Author
Jay W. Curry

Jay W. Curry

Along with hosting “Texas Business Radio”, Jay is a Professional Certified Coach and Master Chair facilitating four Houston-based Vistage peer groups. In addition to being a best selling non-fiction author, the 2015 release of his award winning novel, Nixon and Dovey: the Legend Returns, adds novelist to his title. Jay holds a BS in Mathematics from Oklahoma State and an MS in Computer Science from Kansas State. You can learn more about Jay HERE.

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