Aggreko in partnership with Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, offers an exclusive opportunity to 25 top technical students in areas near Aggreko service centers. The SelecTech Accelerated Career Program, gives individuals the opportunity to have on the job experience, whilst also being paid during the two-year internship.
We spoke with Hannah, one of the new recruits who attended the program, about her recent experience, and how the program has helped in her knowledge and career.
What is your job title?
My current job title is OFA technician out of the central repair location in New Iberia Louisiana.
Describe your day to day responsibilities?
I do not have a set routine that I follow daily, I travel often to support locations across the US. My most recent trips have been to Baton Rouge to help with disaster recovery and the current trip I am on to the Midwest to help support their local business. While I travel my job varies from HVAC and temperature control repairs and services to Power and OFA equipment set up/repair/ maintenance.
What attracted you to the SelecTech Accelerated Career Program?
I have a passion for the field of science, I was involved for years in an engineering academy where I also participated in a international robotics competition. I was in the design and build team for a robot we built for he army Corp of engineers and I also helped with other local projects. I enjoy seeing how things work and having a part in the designing/building process.
How would you compare your experience of the program versus what you were told beforehand?
If it were up to me, I would have joined a year earlier... but the program is only open to graduates of high school. Haha I was so excited about the program I brought it to my older brother and explained to him that it was a great opportunity. He joined. So I heard a very candid play by play of the program as my older brother experienced it. I loved the program, I met wonderful people and came out with close connections to seasoned technicians all over the nation. I gained experience in the field and an in depth conceptual knowledge of how the equipment works.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the travel. There's a pattern in my answers and the things I remember most and enjoyed the most usually tie in to my experiences while traveling. When I am in Louisiana at my normal shop I am OFA. Air compressors only. When I travel I do it all. I have worked with HSE vendors with safety inspections, worked on HVAC and TC jobs/equipment, repaired and set up generators and anything In-between.
I like the diversity of my work because it allows me to grow in all directions.
Tell us more about the travel aspect?
Because I am part of the central repair team I am allowed to travel to support other locations technically around the world. (Although I haven't had the pleasure to travel international yet)
I have been to over half of the states since being hired on with Aggreko... And hopefully many more to follow.
Do you think you would have found it difficult to gain the same knowledge and experience you have now if you didn’t participate in the program?
Without a doubt. I found that I learned a lot in a short amount of time, I experienced a lot of issues and faults, climates and elevations, and troubleshooting styles. All of these things affect our equipment and they affect the way we technicians maintain the equipment. I was exposed to these things in a program that was set on cultivating technicians what are capable all around. But to take it another step... After graduation I was never under the impression that my learning stopped there. I was fully conscious of the fact that I had a long way to go. If we keep the desire to learn and remain humble through our growth, the program will see a lot of great technicians graduate.
How would you describe the atmosphere and feelings of the other students you’re with?
In the program I traveled around the nation as the first female technician that some depots have ever had. Initially they did not know how to work alongside a female, what to say, how to act... What I could carry, what I could handle...They were all appropriate reservations because they wanted to be respectful. But as time went on they relaxed and realized that the average curtesy they would show their male peers they should show us females.
They soon realized that I could handle my own weight in the field, with cable, duck, and hose and I think as more people realized that females are capable of doing the job, they became more supportive.
Was the hands on experience something in particular that helped you learn more?
This is the most crucial part of our learning. This is where we apply the knowledge that our instructors drill into us while we are in school. Without this aspect we would lose the practical knowledge and the application would be lost. This is where we pair the concepts With the equipment and have to apply the knowledge to troubleshoot it appropriately.
Do you have any advice for those who may be interested in the SelecTech Career Program?
The select tech program is a growing program that has never stopped developing. As the business changes, so does the program and the people involved work endlessly to ensure that the technicians they graduate are capable of doing the job. The support system behind this program is endless. If you truly want to get involved in a program that facilitates your career growth and learning then consider this one. It is not easy, it will not be handed to you, you will have to work hard, and you will struggle at times but after its over you will not regret the work you put in. Attitude is everything, remember to stay humble, positive, and focused on your goals.
What’s next for you then?
I am currently enrolled in school pursuing my BAS degree. I am scoping out graduate programs because I plan to continue my education further. I plan to continue traveling and hope to one day make it overseas for work. I'm not sure where my career in Aggreko will take me but I am optimistic and open minded.
When you’re not working, what are you usually up to?
When I am not working I am involved with my church as a youth leader and I participate/ assist planning in many young adult gatherings we have inside and outside the church. I am a passionate poet and spend most of my free time writing poetry. With more than a thousand written poems/spoken word pieces and a few published works this is probably the most personal aspect of my life.
Find out how you can become part of the SelecTech Program.