Leischen "Lee" Bauke / Contactor Safety Program Coordinator
Leischen “Lee” Bauke is all about safety. She is a certified safety professional and a certified safety and environmental trainer. In fact, “safety” has been in all three of her job titles since she joined Alyeska 14 years ago: Field Safety Specialist from 2001-2006, Fire Safety and Industrial Hygiene Subject Matter Expert from 2006-2007, and her current role as Contactor Safety Program Coordinator.
Lee’s commitment to safety even extends beyond Alyeska. She was recently appointed by former Alaska Governor Sean Parnell to a public seat on the Alaska Safety Advisory Council, which promotes safety so that resources can be used to reduce accidental death and injury. She also serves as an adjunct professor for occupational health and safety/hazardous waste management courses with the University of Alaska.
Lee recently talked about the importance of safety in our unique TAPS workplace and shared a few of her favorite moments from her wide-ranging work experience with Alyeska.
You have worked at Alyeska for 14 years. Why have you chosen to spend your career at our company?
I never consciously chose to work at Alyeska – it was a lucky happenstance that occurred through a course of events. I was getting my master’s degree in Environmental Science at UAA and started working with a contractor as a Health Safety Environment specialist in Valdez. I really liked the town, the job and the people. I thought I would focus on the environmental side, but found that safety became more and more my main focus, so I started to pursue that aspect and got my national certifications.
At Alyeska, we have the benefit of having a great Safety team which has a lot of knowledge. So if you choose to continue working here, there are all sorts of resources and subject matter experts to ask for advice and for their knowledge based on their experience on and off TAPS.
Talk about your current work as Alyeska’s Contactor Safety Program Coordinator?
I work with new TAPS contractors and help guide their transition onto TAPS, as well as provide safety oversight with existing contractors. I assist Alyeska’s contract representatives with their contractors’ transition to TAPS, and help contracting officers and Supply Chain with contractor reviews. I perform audits, evaluations, inspections, investigations, training and all other duties associated with safety oversight of contractors. I also provide support to field safety on the pipeline and in Valdez.
What do you love about your job?
I really like being outdoors and traveling to the pump stations and around the Valdez area. I like working with the Supply Chain Department and project managers to bring contractors onto TAPS. I like being part of the Oil Spill Contingency Plan teams, though I'm usually not crazy about the food.
What are the most interesting aspects of work in the field?
Who doesn’t love working and living in Alaska? People pay big money to travel up here and see the state for like 10 days. We get to see it in all four seasons. I like seeing the folks at the pump stations that I haven’t seen in ages. I like seeing people in Valdez and catching up with them. I like seeing a rainbow from the DIF parking lot or from the VTO when I get off of work. I like meeting the contractors I have talked to and emailed with about their new work on TAPS in the field and see how they are doing. I love working the shutdowns in the field and seeing the work progress over the few short hours – it’s like watching a perfectly synchronized dance.
What are the most interesting aspects of office work?
The best part of working in the office is catching up with the other departments, whether it be because I have a meeting scheduled, or I need training assistance for a contractor or a program, or if I need to speak with Projects or Supply Chain. All of this is critical and keeping those connections is really viable. Plus, I get to hear about how their kids and pets are doing and what happened over a long weekend – quite frankly their lives seem a lot more interesting than mine.
Can you please discuss the role that safety plays in your daily work?
If I didn’t focus on safety and be ever vigilant in my own actions and those of others, I probably wouldn’t have a long tenure in any position I aspired to. In fact, I think I have to be more conservative due to my role as a safety professional. I mean that I think I perform more conservative SPSAs and more conservative Journey Management perhaps than others may do as I feel I am setting an example to myself and others. It is pretty embarrassing when a person makes a slipup and has an incident, whether at home or at work; it is doubly embarrassing when you are a safety professional. So I think that all of us with careers that focus on safety tend to be even more diligent than others.
Talk about our safety culture at Alyeska and along TAPS.
The safety culture that I see is stellar. I often work with other companies and can clearly see that Alyeska’s metrics as well as our goals, expectations and tools that allow us to achieve those goals are, bar none, some of the best out there.
Congratulations on being named to the Alaska Safety Advisory Council. That is quite an honor and really embodies your commitment to safety.
We serve at the pleasure of Alaska’s governor and make recommendations to the governor and legislature on state policy and programs that deal with the safety and health of Alaskans. We consist of 14 members representing industry, labor, the general public and federal, state and local governments. Our committee will work in cooperation with official and unofficial organizations, individuals and groups to marshal resources toward reducing accidental death and injuries and to promote safety, health and wellness for all Alaskans.
I’ve just started working with representatives from the Governor’s office for the first time. I find the new dynamics are really interesting, hearing items from a non-pipeline perspective. Our council has met a few times and are in the process of planning the Governor’s Health and Safety Conference, which is to be held on March 24.
When did you perform your last Safe Performance Self Assessment (SPSA)?
I do an SPSA every morning before getting in the car and backing it out of the garage.
Jennifer Stubblefield / Valdez TAPS Fire Captain
Longtime Valdez TAPS Fire Captain Jennifer Stubblefield was recently elected President of the Alaska State Firefighters Association. The announcement of this honor gave Stubblefield an opportunity to look back on her career and share some of her experiences.
What's your current job on TAPS? How long have you worked here?
I am currently a fire captain for Doyon Universal Services and have worked at the Valdez Marine Terminal for more than 8.5 years.
What made you join the fire team? Did you always want to be a firefighter?
I joined the fire team because it was an opportunity for me to grow professionally and as a person. Growing up in a farming community, I had never heard of a firefighter and wanted to be a cowgirl lassoing bad guys.
How do you view your role on TAPS?
I believe my role as a fire captain on TAPS is one of many roles that are meant to keep business operating and people safe. I try to be an advocate for all workers. During pre-planning or site visits, I am not only thinking about emergency response, but also that the workers have their needed protective gear, the right tools, and a safe work area.
You were just elected President of the Alaska State Firefighters Association. What does this organization do and why is it important to you?
The Alaska State Firefighters Association is a non-profit organization that is an advocate for Alaska firefighters and sponsors the annual state fire conference. The organization provides scholarships for dependents, training grants for firefighters, death and disability benefits, a Firefighter's Benevolent Fund, a legislative voice on relevant issues, and other assistance to local chapters. The organization is important to me as I see the differences we make in communities across the state. Right now, we are working on a Line of Duty Death Committee that would respond immediately to a community that loses a firefighter and assist that department with arranging shift coverage from other departments, counseling, benefit assistance, etc.
Firefighting isn't traditionally known for being an industry with many women. How did you end up becoming a firefighter? How do you think your gender has affected your experience?
As a newspaper editor, police often sent me beyond barricades for stories and fire departments sent me into buildings on fire. I have some great photos, but the safety culture was different then and some risks unknown. I often took arson investigation and other crime scene photos. When I initially tried to become a firefighter, I was informed there would never be a female "fireman" at my local department, which is still true to this day. I then paid for my firefighter training and job-tested at several places. Finally, hired as a full-time Midwest City firefighter, I was in the chief's office my first day being welcomed. An engineer walked in and said, "I have worked here too long if you just hired a female. She doesn't belong here." Another fire captain later said, "I almost said something" to the engineer, but he said nothing.
It is unfortunate that some people cannot see beyond gender, and it is also unfortunate that these are my tamer interactions. Experiencing this behavior has definitely helped me as a supervisor to recognize when people are treated unfairly based on race, age, gender, etc. Allowing bad behavior is the same as condoning it, and I can intervene at the lowest level. You have to be an advocate for your employee, speak up when someone is behaving inappropriately, and stop it right then. You may not be able to change someone's beliefs, but you can control the behavior at work.
Finally, what was your last Safe Performance Self Assessment (SPSA)?
My last SPSA was checking the weather forecast for a trip as it changed from clear to rain and clouds quickly. I cancelled my flight and drove.
Katie Pesznecker / Stakeholder Relations Manager
Katie is a proud graduate of Oregon State University, where she graduated with a degree in English. In 2001, she moved to Anchorage to work as a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. Why Anchorage, Alaska? “I’ve always been a curious and adventurous person,” said Katie. “Adventures, whether personal or professional, present unique opportunities to learn and understand the environment around us.”
Katie started working for Alyeska in July 2007 after seven years as a journalist. She was hired as an Internal Communications Coordinator, a position that focused on communication with employees. Her duties expanded over time; today she’s the Stakeholder Relations Manager with responsibilities including, crisis communications, media relations, and direct support for Alyeska’s executives and leaders. At the community level, she manages Alyeska’s Anchorage and statewide philanthropy program, deciding how to best invest philanthropy dollars in Alaska nonprofits. “That part of the job is extremely rewarding,” said Katie.
TAPS is an integral component of what drives Alaska’s economic engine – 90% of the state’s budget comes from oil revenue. At today’s throughput and crude price, the state’s coffers receive approximately $24 million a day in revenue. “One of my major jobs is to tell the company’s story externally – to our stakeholders, politicians and community leaders – to help them learn about our business and understand our challenges. I’m proud to work for a company where the work we do has a significant impact on both the public and private sectors.”
When asked to share an example of where she’s seen Alyeska’s values of safety and teamwork demonstrated on TAPS, Katie said, “Teamwork really shines during oil spill response drills on the pipeline and in Valdez. Hundreds of people from Alyeska and state and federal agencies come together to practice responding to a simulated crisis.”
One of Katie’s most memorable experiences was during her first winter on TAPS, when her boss sent her and two coworkers on a drive from Fairbanks to Pump Station 1 to distribute commemorative 30th anniversary books to employees. “It was my first time being out on the line, driving over Atigun Pass, and visiting some of the more remote pump stations,” explained Katie. “I was so impressed by our facilities and by the commitment of the people who staff them – the pride people have for this pipeline and this business is something special.”
Like so many TAPS employees, Katie volunteers her free time in support of various community events and activities, and she serves on boards and committees in support of organizations in Anchorage and across the state, including Food Bank of Alaska, Anchorage Schools Foundation, and American Lung Association Leadership Council.
Josh Lazaro / Intern, Pipeline Integrity Testing (PIT) Program
What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? My only expectation was that I would be held to a high performance standard without regard to the task assigned.
What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting and educational project I have worked on has been verifying line classes for facility corrosion drawings. This project has allowed me to utilize and combine my mechanical engineering studies with the knowledge I have accumulated by working with extremely talented engineers at Alyeska. The most interesting aspects of this project include the critical thinking involved in verifying line classes without being able to physically examine the piping, as well as the precautions necessary to ensure the safety of TAPS.
Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? Sose Vartanian was the person who mentored me the most. Any question I had she would continually take the time to assist me and give advice. Not only did she spend time giving me work-related advice, she gave me career and life advice as well. She worked diligently to ensure I would persevere as an intern with Alyeska and at life.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. My favorite experience through the duration of my internship was driving from Fairbanks to Pump Station 1. Being able to physically view and understand how the pump stations were designed is a pertinent advantage and skill. I was able to speak with tremendously knowledgeable technicians and operators who were able to answer any questions I had.
Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. Being involved with the TAPS culture has trained me to recognize how every task performed can involve each of the five attributes in one way or another. As my internship comes to completion, I have been able to identify the most with the Making Sound Decisions attribute. All of the tasks I’ve been involved in have emphasized the importance of making sound decisions, particularly when verifying risk factors in the facility corrosion database.
Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? Alyeska is an excellent company! The reason Alyeska is such a profound company is because of the people who work there. Everyone works as a cohesive group, and to the best of their abilities to ensure the integrity of TAPS.
Adam Emrick / Intern, B Crew, Pump Station 1
What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? When I first started, I had no idea what I was going to be getting myself into. I did not have any fellow students that I knew of who had previously done the internship. I just expected a lot of hustle, in a fairly strict setting.
What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting and educational project that I was a part of this summer was the troubleshooting of Accutek wireless transmitters. It was a fairly simple task, however, I had not had a chance to work with wireless instrumentation systems up to that point.
Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? I was mentored by the lead technician at Pump Station 1, Mr. John Draper. He was very easy to get along with and never stopped pushing me. His style of leadership was incredibly effective, and it was seen most by the level of respect every single technician had for him.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. My favorite experience during my internship was when we conducted oil spill response training. I first learned about the techniques used during a classroom session, but it truly was made memorable when I saw the PS1 team in action on the river. The tactics that were used, in conjunction with using an airboat, were highly effective and surprisingly fast.
Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. I’ve learned that the level of preparation that goes into each job is extensive. Not only does every maintenance task have a checklist, but it requires the technician to fully go over the procedure as well as look in to each drawing that deals with the task at hand. I believe that this follows closely with “Taking a System View.” This is one of the number one things that must be done prior to taking on a procedure, as any mishap could lead to a chain reaction that could cause a shutdown of the pipeline.
Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? The number one thing that impressed me was the fact that from day one, I did not feel like an intern. Every single Alyeska employee that I interacted with enthusiastically greeted me and was more than willing to stop what they were doing in an instant to make sure that I knew what was going on. Another thing that impressed me was the safety culture. Most companies can talk day and night about safety, but very few can actually successfully employ it to the degree that Alyeska does.
I would like to thank everyone at Pump Station 1 for a fun and informative summer. I am also very thankful for everyone at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for providing such a great opportunity.
Allyson Payne / Intern, Information Technology
Was this your first internship on TAPS? I have two summer internships, last year and this year.
What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? My expectations were to learn more about the company and build business relationships. Last summer I learned a lot about APSC, but I knew I had not learned everything. Having a second internship has only built on top of what I have already learned and I was able to contribute more based on the knowledge I already had.
What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting and educational project that I worked on was the IT SharePoint website. The current SharePoint tool is on a 2007 platform. It was a challenge to build a lot of the site’s content with the limited functionality. It took a great deal of creativity, improvising, and planning to get a final result.
Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? The person that has created a positive influence and that really brought value to my internship was the CIO, Bill Rosetti. I have had various meetings with Bill, and he has always put things into perspective. In meetings that were directly related to projects I was working on, he took the time to explain concepts or give me better direction. I have learned a lot from just listening to Bill speak and give his perspectives on things.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. My favorite experiences working at APSC was meeting new APSC employees. An important part of a company is its employees. And employees are a huge reflection on the company. I have had nothing but great experiences meeting new employees which always reaffirms how great a company Alyeska is.
Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. I have learned that TAPS really takes pride in their culture and instills it in all employees. I think creating the 5 cultural attributes is proof of that. I think it is important that the company has created these attributes to better the company as well as the employees. I have been able to identify with all of the attributes but the one that I identify with the most is Learn, Improve and Innovate. I think as an intern it our job to learn and contribute the knowledge we have to better improve the business.
Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? I think TAPS is a great company and I really admire the work that the employees do. Each employee is an important part of the company that helps reach the end goal of delivering oil. I also think that it is great that the company has an internship program. I think having an internship program shows an extension of how the company wants to learn and grow.
Eric Francisco / Intern, HR & Corporate Communications
Was this your first internship on TAPS? This is my first internship on TAPS. I was fortunate enough to begin my internship early on April 15.
What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? I expected my internship on TAPS to be challenging, rewarding, and a kick-start to my career.
What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? I’ve enjoyed all of my projects working for TAPS. However, I’m currently working on a project for the Alaska Native Program moving their various applications from paper format to electronic. This project has been the most educational as it has allowed me to learn and become proficient with Microsoft InfoPath and SharePoint.
Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? Tabetha Toloff and Dorothy Lord-Matthew have been my primary mentors. Dorothy knows APSC inside and out and has been invaluable in sharing her extensive knowledge with me.
Tabetha is a master of communication. Communication has been a large part of the work I’ve been doing this summer. Tabetha has been a shining example of communicating effectively with people to move your work forward.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. One of my favorite experiences has been to travel to the village of Tatitlek in Prince William Sound. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend their Peksulineq Festival with APSC President Tom Barrett.
Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. I’ve learned that the TAPS culture is a safety culture. All employees seem to be conscious of the fact that we are conducting risky work with zero room for error. Safety is the top priority for TAPS. I strongly identify with Taking a System View in my role as the Executive Intern. I have worked with the Alaska Native Program, Corporate Communications, and Human Resources. This work has taken me to both Fairbanks and the Valdez Marine Terminal. I have seen how the different locations of APSC affect one another and it has allowed me to Take a System View on my work moving forward.
Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? During this internship I’ve learned that TAPS is the lifeblood of our state. The importance of the work done by TAPS employees cannot be overstated. This notion is felt throughout the company and contributes to TAPS overall success.
Samuel Denison / Intern, Operations & Maintenance
Was this your first internship on TAPS? This is my second summer at Pump 1.
What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? Knowing that I was going to be at the same place as last summer, I wanted to dive into my field of study as much as possible (instrumentation). It turned out that this year has been more meaningful because of the variety of work I was able to learn. Not only did I gain valuable lessons with instrumentation, I was introduced to SCADA, mechanical, and utility operations.
What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? The most interesting work I participated in was when I was helping Dave Sanders with SCADA. We were working on the data lines for Northstar metering in the control room. The reason this was the most interesting work was because SCADA is a completely new field. I found the craft to be interesting and enjoyable to work in and, hope I have more opportunity to work with SCADA in the future.
Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? I have spent the last two summers with Wil Previtt as my mentor, and have enjoyed the entire time. I have worked with many people that were designated as a “mentor” in other careers but the difference being that I consider Wil not only as a mentor but a friend. It would be great to work with him again in the future. Throughout the summer he continually pushed me to explore other crafts while allowing me to perform work that would allow me to grow as a technician.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. The most memorable experience I had this summer was being able to work some overtime at Pump 4. Wil and I drove down to Pump 4 from 1 to do some work on a fire system, during which I was able to see how other pump stations operated. After work we took a hike up one of the mountains just north of Pump 4.
What you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: System View, Make Sound Decisions, Learn-Improve-Innovate, Speak Up-Step Up, Act With Discipline. I have always thought that System View is the most important cultural attribute that a technician needs to know. The reason being is as technicians, the work being performed on any given equipment has direct effects to the process at the station. Knowing what these effects are allows the tech not only to know what to do or what not to do, but develops a technician that is of better quality in regards to troubleshooting problems that arise with the system.
Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? I have never worked at a better place than Alyeska. I say this because of the attitude that others have towards me. I have been treated with the upmost respect as an intern with everyone being more than willing to go above and beyond concerning my development as a technician.
Norman Carlo / Intern, ROW & EP&C
Was this your first internship on TAPS? I have had two internships with TAPS. One as a technician intern and the other with the ROW & EP&C team.
What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? To learn as much as I could from the Alyeska employees, the operations, and safety culture.
What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? Updating documentation to comply with Alyeska’s Contingency Oil Spill Plan. It has been a few years since I used excel and this task required me to use the program. It really helped me to get stronger and more comfortable with using excel.
Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? Frank Duncklee: He showed me many things along the ROW and shared his knowledge with me about the pipeline and gave me tips on how to be a stronger employee for the future.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. Working as dispatch at the Middle Fork Koyukuk Oil Spill Drill. It was my first time working in a position like that. It was a challenge and also fun.
Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture so far and how you have identified with at least one of the five cultural attributes: Making sound decisions: Working with Alyeska really helped me to make sound decisions by being more careful not just at work but, in my personnel life as well.
Now that you’ve spent many weeks working on TAPS, what’s your impression of Alyeska, TAPS, or its people? Alyeska is a great company that treats there employees well. TAPS is excellent because there is great communication between all the Alyeska employees.
I really enjoyed these past two summers working for Alyeska as an intern. I learned a lot that can help me in my future goals in becoming an employee for Alyeska. Thank you.
Raymond Kangas / Intern, Integrity Management
"Getting the job done is important, but that is only half of the mission. The other half is getting everybody through it safely."
Was this your first internship on TAPS? This is my second summer internship with APSC.
What were your expectations for this internship when you first started? I knew that I was going back to the same position I had last summer with the same mentor and supervisor. Last year I was more like a learner or so it felt like, with only a couple big projects. This year I can definitely say I am more of a producer; my mentor and supervisor have assigned me a lot more tasks this summer than last.
What was the most interesting or educational project you worked on and why? This is a hard question to answer; I have had two projects this summer that seem to come in a tie. After a little leak found at an RGV this summer, I put together data on all of the below-ground valves on the mainline, followed by a report explaining my methods. The other project is the work I done with the valve testing this summer, including working with others reviewing the procedures, creating and presenting a valve testing presentation explaining the hydraulics behind it, and participating in the valve tests.
Who is someone who really mentored you, and how did they do that? I’ve learned a lot from Russ Bonar. He is the Senior Valve Engineer I work under. We worked together in three valve tests during three separate 18 hour shutdowns, and we’re preparing for another valve test during the upcoming August 9 shutdown.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences you had during the internship. So far my favorite experience this summer is the valve testing during the June 8 shutdown. Russ and I drove up to Pump Station 4 for half a week. I put a request in for a vehicle from fleet, and received an awesome truck for the roughly 350-mile road trip. I hung out with my brother at Pump Station 4, and dined at the PLQ there. Most importantly I played a more integral role in the valve testing since I am OQ qualified to open and close bypass valves on mainline valves.
Describe what you’ve learned about the TAPS culture. One of the lessons I learned firsthand is the Make Sound Decisions attribute. I have sat in on a lot of meetings this summer. The majority of the meetings are valve testing related, and what came up a lot in the discussions was safety for the people working out in the field. Getting the job done is important, but that is only half of the mission. The other half is getting everybody through it safely. Alyeska from my view does not beat around the bush on safety, which is good.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work with TAPS this summer; it is a good experience to remember while I finish up my degree.