In his current position, Bill plays a leadership role to a global network of engineers in piping technology for The Dow Chemical Company. Valve World Americas was therefore delighted when Bill Patrick agreed to take up the role of Chairman for the 2017 Valve World Americas Conference. We visited him in Houston, Texas to ask about his experiences in working with valves, his expectations for the upcoming conference and the importance of transferring knowledge in the industry.
Making time for mentoring
Early on in his career, Bill realized that he enjoyed the technical area immensely. He attributes much of his career path to this strong passion for the technical aspects of piping, combined with a little serendipity. He thrived on learning – researching information and building a relationship with a knowledgeable mentor, helped him to discover solutions to the challenges he faced. “In the time before the internet where an answer could not be Googled, a lot of research was required to develop an understanding of a technology area,” Bill said. “During this period, I also met my mentor in valve technology, Bill Jackson from the Dow Midland Michigan facility. I would often call him with questions in regards to valves and he would spend hours discussing valve technology with me, in what could be resolved in a number of minutes.”
Fighting fugitive emissions
As someone heavily involved in the industry and dialed in to the valve world, we asked Bill what some of the most urgent valve challenges that he and his peers currently face. As it has been of great focus for the past several years and one of the most popular conference sessions at past Valve World events, fugitive emissions is identified as a major challenge to the valve industry. “There are too many different approaches at trying to quantify the issue by various legislative bodies and developed standards. It is very difficult to manage this at a global level and meet regional requirements. Fugitive emissions control is very important, not only due to legislative reasons, but economically,” revealed Bill.
A typical day for Bill can vary depending on the current needs within the organization. His mornings start early and are typically filled with meetings which include Europe, India and North American focal points. His afternoons often include local meetings and work on current initiatives, and evenings often involve (telemeetings) with participants in the Pacific region, including China. Besides the variety in his work, being able to provide technical consultation for piping issues is one of the facets of his position that he most enjoys. Sharing his knowledge and acting as a source of information for younger and new engineers is a rewarding aspect of his role and also reflected in his involvement with the Valve World Americas conference.