SKW Intern Aaron Holderness works with equipment on a project site in Virginia.

Corrosion Technician Intern Aaron Holderness works on a pipeline survey at a project site in Virginia.

If you are looking for Corrosion Technician Intern Aaron Holderness, you might have a hard time finding him at McClure Engineering Company’s (MEC) office in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Instead, you will find him in the field working on project sites across the U.S.

Holderness, a student in the pipeline integrity program at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT), first learned about the internship program at his school’s job fair, and became interested after hearing about the hands-on experience it offered. After his interview, he knew it was the right fit.

“This company gets you out in the field right off the bat,” said Holderness, who works in the corrosion services department.

Since beginning his internship in May, Holderness has been working on a close interval pipeline survey (CIS) project in Virginia, near Washington, D.C. Close interval pipeline survey (CIS) is one of the many turnkey integrity services provided to the oil and gas industry. In addition to working with pipeline integrity survey, Holderness has also been learning what it is like to work in the field with other team members.

“My internship has definitely shown me this work is much more of a team effort,” said Holderness. “Compared to the classroom, there are no solo jobs out here.”

As a member of a three-person team, Holderness has taken on key responsibilities at his project site. After his first day in the field, he started completing tasks independently, including line locating and tracking GPS coordinates. The team will move up to 5 miles along the pipeline a day, with Holderness tracking data every 100 feet, as well as at every test station, facility, water-body and roadway.

“All of the guys have always been willing to teach me,” said Holderness. “My team members were the ones who trained me how to use the GPS and line locater to track data points on the pipeline to help assess its integrity.”

During his internship, Holderness also has the opportunity to learn from his mentor, Managing Director of Corrosion Services Corey Holmes. Holmes interviewed Holderness for the corrosion technician intern position and saw him as a candidate who was eager to learn.

“Aaron is proactive,” said Holmes. “He doesn’t want to sit back and watch; he wants to get his hands dirty and learn what he can.”

Holderness first became interested in the pipeline integrity field after speaking with a friend who was in the program at OSUIT. Holderness, who was already looking at careers in the oil and gas industry, thought it seemed like the right fit and decided to pursue it as his career.

“What we’re doing out here is a lot like what I’ve been doing in the classroom, there’s just a lot more riding on keeping our team safe and protecting the integrity of the project itself,” Holderness said.

After finishing the project in Virginia, Holderness will continue traveling to various project sites throughout the country to gain a range of experience in both pipeline integrity and construction, including working on corrosion surveys, AC mitigation testing and cathodic protection installations.

“I’m excited to be able to travel the country, while seeing the different segments of this industry,” said Holderness.