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Industry professionals will get a number of chances this year to simulate real welding experiences in virtual environments with the VRTEX™ 360 Virtual Reality Arc Welding (VRAW) training solution from Lincoln Electric. The company will feature this realistic welder training system at the following global conferences and trade shows throughout the remainder of the year:  OTC, May 2-5, Houston, TX; NASCC: The Steel Conference, May 11-15, Pittsburgh, PA; World Skills 2011, Oct. 5-8, London, England; SEMA, Nov. 1-4, Las Vegas, NV; FABTECH, Nov. 14-17, Chicago, IL; PRI: Performance Racing Industry, Dec. 1-4, Orlando, FL; and Power-GEN International, Dec. 13-15, Las Vegas, NV.
  In other news, Lincoln plans to host a free Pipe Mill Welding Seminar at the company’s corporate headquarters in Cleveland, OH, from May 23-27, 2011. The five day seminar runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Pipe mill welding engineers, welders, operating and quality personnel are encouraged to attend.Topics will include : the latest advances in pipe welding equipment; consumable selection; identification and correction of weld defects; and effect of welding essential variables, including heat input on weld metal properties.
  Tours of Lincoln’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, R&D Tech Center and Automation Division will also be conducted.
  Space is limited to 30 attendees. To register RSVP no later than Friday, May 13, 2011 to Lincoln Electric at (216) 383-8355 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT.
 
AutoSol has opened a branch office in Calgary, AB.  Operating under the name of AutoSol Canada, Inc. “With over 50 end users throughout Alberta it became vital that we focus on providing localized support to our end users and the many integrators and service organizations that support them” said Doug Osburn, president and CEO. 
  Suzzette Rainey has relocated from AutoSol’s corporate headquarters in Houston and will serve in the capacity of operations manager. AutoSol Canada, Inc. is located in downtown Calgary in the Sun Life Plaza, West Tower. Rainey can be reached at 403.463.6730 or by email at srainey@autosoln.com.

Louisiana Pipeliners Association holds regular dinner meetings at different locations around the state and visiting speakers provide pertinent presentations.
  The Association has established a Scholarship Fund in order to award grants to eligible college students. Golf tournaments are used as a major fund raising source for this purpose.
  For more information on this networking opportunity, up-to-date event info, general information, scholarship guidelines, or membership opportunities, visit the website at www.louisianapipeliners.org. To contact an Association representative, email Mark Roberts at meetings@louisianapipeliners.org.

Chairman and CEO Paul Somerville of Associated Pipe Line Contractors Inc. and Tilman Fertitta, president, CEO and primary shareholder of Landry’s Restaurants,  were familiar faces at the 2011 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. For Somerville, this was his second year in a row to buy the Grand Champion Steer at the event. For Fertitta, this was his second Grand Champion Steer purchase since 2005. And for Koby Long, this was his second winning steer, the first was Frank The Tank, who took the title of Reserve Grand Champion in 2008.

JM Test Systems has opened a new office in Corpus Christi, TX that is being staffed by Greg Gallagher and Chuck Kauffman. JM Test Systems operates a full service metrology lab that provides calibration and repair services for both electronic and electrical instruments, mechanical and dimensional test equipment utilized in the pipeline, petrochemical and manufacturing industries. 

G&P Land recently named Mike Trout as manager of Business Development for the Northeast Region.
  Also new to G&P Land is Troy Bergeron, manager of Business Development for the Gulf Coast Mid-Continent region.

Curt Watson has joined Mustang, a Wood Group company, as senior vice president of Global Business Development and Marketing.  Watson will provide global and domestic leadership of Mustang’s business development and marketing efforts. In this role, he will provide direction in establishing best practices and coordinated approaches to key customer accounts on a worldwide basis, enhancing the ability to win work.  

Black Pearl Capital’s private equity fund, Black Pearl Capital Partners, has completed the acquisition of Canadian Energy Equipment Manufacturing (CEEM), a specialist in custom-made equipment for the oilfield industry. As part of the transaction, Tyler Hague, the founder of CEEM, will continue as its CEO.

William B. Zipf has joined Chesapeake Utilities Corporation as vice president of Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company. Zipf will have ultimate responsibility for all day-to-day activities of the Eastern Shore natural gas transmission system, setting the strategic direction for Eastern Shore and the execution of its future growth initiatives. He will oversee all areas of the business including pipeline system operation, engineering, transportation services administration, pricing and regulation, pipeline integrity, budgeting and financial analysis.

Polyguard recently appointed Frank Bartolic as vice president of Engineering. He will focus on improving Polyguard’s product quality and productivity. 

MS Energy Services™ recently opened its new Mid-Continent regional headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK. The new operation will include an all-purpose regional service center, initially supported by both the Conroe and Fort Worth, TX manufacturing facilities to ensure optimal customer service and support.
  The new operation will be under the direction of Carthan Heard, the recently appointed Mid-Continent region manager for MS Energy Services.

McElroy has started the Certified McElroy Rental program. The program is a partnership between McElroy and participating distributors to supply customers with the fusion machine rentals on the market.
  Participating distributors will use a comprehensive checklist created by McElroy to check machines after each rental. By participating in the program, distributors have pledged to provide greater continuous care of McElroy rental machines, creating a premium rental option in the marketplace. If a repair is needed, participating distribu­tors are committed to using genuine McElroy parts installed by factory-trained mechanics.
  A new website at www.certifiedmcelroy.com allows contrac­tors and pipeliners to locate McElroy distributors that carry Certified McElroy Rental machines. All designated rental machines have a sticker on the fusion unit that designates that it is part of the Certified McElroy Rental program.

Alan P. Snider, PE and David “Paul” Bearden, Jr. have joined Laney Directional Drilling Co. Snider will serve as vice president – Engineering and Bearden will serve as director – Research, Development, and Quality.

ISCO Industries LLC recently hosted a grand opening of its new facility in Kingman, AZ. The event took place at the new 40,000 sq-foot, 10-acre facility located on Flightline Drive in Kingman.  The main functions of the location will be to: fabricate HDPE pipe fittings and custom designed HDPE structures; stock HDPE pipe and accessories; warehouse, sell, rent and refurbish McElroy fusion equipment; send out field service technicians to operate fusion equipment on customer jobsites; and train customers on HDPE pipe properties and operation of HDPE welding equipment.
  The plant will serve as a major hub in the area for ISCO Industries, servicing most of the U.S. West. ISCO operates facilities in the United States, Canada and Australia.
  The event also included a ribbon cutting with the Kingman Chamber of Commerce, the mayor, vice-mayor and local council and business members. On hand to cut the ribbon was ISCO Industries Chairman and Founder Jim Kirchdorfer, Sr.

Quality Mat Company of Beaumont, TX has opened a new office in Houston. The new location encompasses 25,000 sq-ft of warehouse space on seven acres in the city’s Channelview area and will offer Houston-area customers a complete selection of Quality Mat’s standard mats as well as custom-designed mats for special uses. In addition, 100% of the net profits from the Houston location will be donated to charity..” For information, visit www.qmat.com.

Iowa Mold Tooling Co. Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, has named John Field as the company’s product manager of Material Handling.

Obituary
Robert Dewayne Bennett, 47, passed away on Feb. 13, 2011, in Palestine, TX, of complications from pneumonia. Bennett was a fourth generation pipeliner and had worked for several of the major pipeline construction contractors over the years.
  Bennett is the son of Leon and Glenda Bennett. He is survived by his daughters Ashley, Nicole, Amanda and Morgan; brother Mack Bennett; and sister Brenda Rynders.
  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Robert Bennett’s name to Triple Cross Cowboy Church, 3470 Lipan Highway, Granbury, TX 76048.

Joseph Sylven Soileau, father of Greg Soileau with Price Gregory International, Inc., died Feb. 18, 2011, at the age of 76 in Eunice, LA. He is survived by three sons, Kent Michael Soileau (Mandy) of Lake Charles, LA; Gregory Paul Soileau (Mary) of Houston, TX; David Blaine Soileau of Eunice, LA; daughter, Sandy S. Jerrell (Charles) of Opelousas, LA; three brothers; seven sisters; six grandchildren; two step-grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren.
  Services were held Feb 22, 2011 at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Eunice, LA.