AB Announces Petroleum Management Degree

AB, Pierpont Community & Technical College team up to offer degree completion program

PHILIPPI, W.Va. – During a press conference held on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, Alderson Broaddus University and Pierpont Community & Technical College announced a joint venture for a major in petroleum management. The announcement was made at FESCO, Ltd. in Bridgeport, W.Va.

Alderson Broaddus University, working as the degree completion partner, will provide a bachelor degree opportunity for students who earn an associate of applied science degree in petroleum technology at Pierpont Community & Technical College. Building on the petroleum technology curriculum, graduates will acquire expanded skills and knowledge for success in the management and regulatory practices of the oil and gas industry.

“Today, we will sign an articulation agreement that will forge a partnership that begins with the Pierpont Community & Technical College petroleum technology program, and allow students to complete a Bachelor of Science in petroleum management at Alderson Broaddus University,” said Dr. Richard Creehan, Alderson Broaddus University President. “The program will launch next fall, and we are recruiting and accepting students — effective immediately.”

The petroleum technology program at Pierpont Community & Technical College includes 60 credits of study; 15 credits in general education courses and 45 credits specific to the petroleum industry. Alderson Broaddus will accept the credits from Pierpont Community & Technical College, and provide additional 61-64 credits of study to round out the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum management.

“Colleges and universities must be sensitive to the demand of twenty-first century, market-driven programs,” said Creehan. “For the past three years, the Alderson Broaddus University faculty has been hard at work making significant revisions to academic programs and developing new initiatives. This partnership will have a positive impact on both college campuses and the business industry.”

Justin Findley, representing the Findley family who started FESCO commented that FESCO was formed in 1949 by William E. (Bill) Findley in Alice, Texas and has grown to more than 23 district offices servicing more than 20 states.

“FESCO is proud to employee 47 full time West Virginia residents, 75% of whom were born and raised locally,” said Findley. “Additionally, nearly 25% of Team Appalachia are veterans, including Regional Manager, Jack Cooper, who is a native of Bolt, W.Va.”Cooper stated that this type of vision and initiative coupled with West Virginia’s natural gas, oil, coal, and wind power generation capabilities further proves that “the Mountain State is America’s Energy Independence.”

The Honorable Natalie E. Tennant, West Virginia Secretary of State, showed her support and also addressed the audience of more than 100 guests including representatives of several oil and gas and energy companies, school officials from both Alderson Broaddus University and Pierpont Community & Technical College, and many local business owners and chamber of commerce members.

“This is an exciting day for our state,” said Tennant. “West Virginians have a right to feel ownership over these natural gas jobs that are being created in our backyards. I am thrilled that steps are being taken to properly train our students for management positions in this burgeoning industry.”
Tennant echoed the pride in training West Virginia students for West Virginia jobs.

“Not every college major has a guaranteed job waiting for them after graduation, but students focused on petroleum technology in West Virginia certainly have a better chance of lucrative employment than many of their peers,” said Tennant. “I hope this announcement will attract more students to a potential career in oil and gas that they perhaps had previously not considered.”

Dr. Ross Brittain, Dean of the College of Science, Technology and Math at Alderson Broaddus University explained the importance of the bachelor’s degree as well as the courses students would take.

“Today, Alderson Broaddus University and Pierpont Community & Technical College are joining the forces of industry to educate a new generation of leaders with the technical expertise to ensure the Petroleum Industry has a sustainable future of energy stewardship,” said Brittain.
The petroleum management major at AB is not only multidisciplinary, but also multi-institutional.

“It is designed to provide petroleum technology graduates from Pierpont Community & Technical College with the regulatory and managerial knowledge and ethics to maintain profitable energy production while providing sustainable stewardship thru regulatory compliance,” said Brittain. “Students enrolled in the petroleum management program will not only gain the liberal arts education critical to effective leadership, but also develop their technical skills as environmental scientists and business managers.”

Students will take classes in ecology, hydrogeology, risk analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the environmental sciences, as well as management, human resources, accounting and operations as part of their education training.

Each graduate is also required to take classes on the federal and state environmental regulations for the industry and an environmental ethics course to aid in their understanding of personal and social conflicts often involved with environmental issues. The program is capped by an internship with an existing business that can be tailored to their specific interests in either business management or regulatory compliance.

“We are excited to be partnering with industry leaders, such as FESCO, to provide these internships and help us educate effective managers,” said Brittain.

Petroleum management graduates will have the technical expertise to navigate important regulations from the Clean Water Act to the Oil & Petroleum Act, and other landmark regulations such as the Endangered Species Act and Superfund. They will be able to assess the health and safety risks associated with industry practices and implement best management practices to prevent or mitigate unacceptable risks. Most importantly, they will also be able to prevent expensive mistakes of regulatory noncompliance by the industry and increasing the efficiency of site location, pipeline location and water analyses.

“All of these skills will make them far more competitive in the current job market and give them greater future opportunities to climb the corporate ladder,” said Brittain. “Job options for graduates of the petroleum management program are abundant in a variety of disciplines within the industry.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job market growth ranging from 10.4% for Industrial Production Managers up to 47.5% for Environmental Science and Protection Technicians. Compliance Officers are projected to have 14.6% growth and Extraction Workers up to 28.8%.

During his remarks, President Creehan also talked about the articulation agreement as a great example of how public and private colleges can work together, as well as a great example of how higher education and business and commerce can work together to accomplish a mutually beneficial objective.

“It is mutually beneficial because the energy sector today is looking for college graduates who are prepared to deal with regulatory, compliance, and entry-level management positions,” said Creehan. “Energy is the fastest growing field in our region and certainly in our great State of West Virginia. It is also mutually beneficial as it gives us the opportunity to fill the void of needed workers in the public sector. The hope and dream of most college students is to find employment in a field of their interest, and in high paying jobs. Pierpont and Alderson Broaddus are pleased to join forces to satisfy the growing demand for well-educated college graduates in the energy field.”

Alderson Broaddus University is continuing to work on adding more academic initiatives, which will be announced soon. For more information on the petroleum management program, please visit ab.edu.

To view the press conference, please click here.