1982: Ron Robinson
Drawing up a long, successful career
In 1982, Washington won the Super Bowl, Michael Jackson released the bestselling album of all time, Thriller, and ET phoned home. That same year, Ron Robinson joined Alyeska as a drafter, creating drawings for key projects by hand. Forty years later, Ron can see the impact of his ink up and down the pipeline.
“Anytime I go through the gate at a facility, I see evidence of the work I did in the ’80s to beef up security at pump stations,” Ron reflected.
At the Tanana River Crossing, where most marvel at the suspension bridge that carries TAPS, Ron sees the security systems he drafted. When pipe settlement led to the milepost 200 re-route, Ron was there. That project added 404.7 feet to total pipeline length and required in-house drawings created just in time.
He said, “We were creating drawings and handing them over so they could go do the work.”
Some of Ron’s strongest memories are of the TAPS people and culture. Always quick to volunteer, he joined in countless United Way campaigns, raising money with fun and games like the Oilympics athletic competitions between Alyeska and the oil companies. Scores of Russian Jack Elementary students counted on Ron as their weekly reading buddy over the years. And he was a regular in the company basketball league where “urban” and “field” teams battled it out for the medal.
Retiring in July 2022, Ron cares about the future of the TAPS workforce and is taking steps to pass on what he knows.
“People have always retired and, while it seems like we are losing brain power, Alyeska has reloaded, time after time — we bring in more thinkers,” he said. “It has been my mission to give my colleagues as much as I can so they can be successful.”
Ron’s best advice was given to him early in his career. “In Alaska, other projects come and go. They have allure that draws people away.” But TAPS endures. “So you want to ‘stay with the pipe.’ It’s a great place. Stay with the pipe.”