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Memories & Mileposts: Pipeline People

2003: James “Jim” Foster Q&A

James “Jim” Foster joined Alyeska in 2003 as a SCADA Analyst at the Operations Control Center (OCC). Now in his 19th year there, he talked with Alyeska’s Corporate Communications team about his career so far.

What do you remember about your fist days working for Alyeska?
“My work background was in satellite and radar systems, so it was a big change to come into the oil and gas industry. I remember how new everything was to me and there was a lot of catching up to do. It was a paradigm shift to learn about Programmable Logic Computers (PLCs) in place of working solely with Windows and Linux platforms.”

What was your job when you were hired and what do you do today?
“I’m very lucky to say that I was hired as a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Analyst, and I still enjoy the work today. I love the SCADA realm and all of the different systems that we get to work with.”

What are some of your best memories working on TAPS?
“I think back to my early days where everything was new and it was all very exciting and fresh. We are introducing a new SCADA system right now that has me very energized. We are bringing our platform up to contemporary standards and will be able to work with more cutting-edge technologies. This effort has me really excited for the future operations of TAPS.”

Jim Foster, right, shares a moment on the job with now Vice President/CFO Lisa Booth and former Alyeska employee Lee DeWilde shortly after Jim started with Alyeska in 2003. Lisa was one of Jim’s early mentors and helped welcome him into the Alyeska family.

Do you have a “best days on TAPS”?
“I think when you are happy with your job, your level of contentment is always high. It is hard to have just one day that really stands out. The good times are highlighted by the people that you work with and the accomplishments and the laughs that you share together through the years.”

How has the discipline you work in changed since you started at Alyeska? How has it not changed?
“When I began work at Alyeska, it was more of an analog world. Today, everything has migrated to virtual machines – server builds, backups, modifications and disaster recovery is much simpler and less time consuming than it was in the past.”

Do you have a favorite spot or facility on the pipeline? What is it and why?
“My favorite place is OCC. We have such a great group of folks that work here and we get to interact with all of the folks across the line and terminal. To me, the job is mostly about the people that I get to work with and the responsibilities we share for the work we do. It is very important to be surrounded by the right group of folks and I couldn’t be happier.”


1978: Jeff Streit

1982: Ron Robinson

1986: Richelle Talvi

1987: Janette Fuller

2008: Michelle Egan

2019: Chip Conroy