Tulsa, Oklahoma Mayor G. T. Bynum marked the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Pipe Liners Club of Tulsa (PLCT) with a proclamation acknowledging the club’s many contributions to the city’s economy and culture.

In addition to focusing on the organization’s longevity and its longtime benefit to the city’s economy, the proclamation honored the pipeline construction industry for its ongoing efforts to educate, train and grow the next-generation workforce by awarding scholarships to aspiring young students. The scholarship program awards $150,000 annually and is funded by PLCT’s 400-plus current members through events such as spring and fall golf tournaments, and spring and fall sporting clay tournaments.

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Members of the organization include a wide range of industry professionals from such companies as Williams, ONEOK, Magellan, and many pipeline construction, service and manufacturing companies.

The mayor’s proclamation came during what has become known as Pipe Liners Week in Tulsa. It is a special recognition of an industry that remains a significant economic driver in a city once known as the “Oil Capital of the World.” 

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PLCT’s long history began in 1947. With WWII in the rearview mirror, the industrial sector of the United States was transitioning from wartime manufacturing of weaponry necessary to wage and win a world war to producing consumer products on an unprecedented scale.

Against this postwar backdrop a small, but visionary group of pipeline industry entrepreneurs decided to form a professional organization called Pipe Liners Club of Tulsa and began conducting meetings in 1948 at various locations around the city. The first elected officers were: president, J.L. Cahill of Continental Pipe Line Co.; vice president, P.L. Reichard and secretary, J.D. Jones, both of Gulf Refining Co.; and treasurer, F.C. Whiteside with Interstate Oil Pipe Line Co. There were four directors, F.V. Cook, G.P. Jennings, Samuel C. Phelps and J.F. Nickel.

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During the first meeting, six presentations were given ranging from a talk on control valves by John E. Green to a movie titled Electricity and Oil Industry sponsored by General Electric. These presentations set the stage for what would define the organization’s goal: providing relevant, timely and pertinent information for its membership. Thus, the cornerstone was laid for a professional organization that would serve to strengthen and elevate a vital and prospering industrial sector of America.

pipe liners club of tulsa
Pipe Liners Club of Tulsa’s officers for 2022/23 are, from left: Patrick Nwakoby, secretary; Shawn Lowman, president; Renato Sanchez, treasurer; along with the outgoing president, Terry Flynn. Not pictured is David Sowards, vice president.

In the decades that followed, the pipeline industry experienced phenomenal growth nationwide in both size and technical advancements, making professional organizations focused on the continual improvement of the multifaceted industry increasingly relevant. By virtue of being the first of its kind, PLCT became the model for such organizations.

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From the beginning, the overarching goal of the organization is best stated in what has become its mission statement: “The Pipe Liners Club of Tulsa is dedicated to the advancement of pipeline engineering, maintenance, and operating practices for the benefit of members and the industry.” To that end, the organization has continued to serve a membership of operational, service and manufacturing companies with updated information on subjects ranging from technological advancements to best practice safety protocols. The advent and impact of high-end technology relevant to the pipeline industry have made staying ahead of the information curve more challenging than ever.

Like many employers these days, the pipeline industry finds itself in continuous competition for talented youth to replace an aging population of workers in every relevant field in the industry including equipment operators, engineers, and administrators. The scholarship committee was formed to address this ongoing challenge.

The scholarship program began in 1955 with a letter from the scholarship committee to R.L. Langenheim, the Dean of Engineering at the University of Tulsa’s College of Petroleum Sciences and Engineering, offering a scholarship in the amount of $350.00 for the 1956-57 school year. From there the fund grew in accordance with the growing need for skilled employees and the rising cost of higher education. To date the fund has provided more than $2.5 million benefiting some 2,500 students.

Last year’s PLCT president, Terry Flynn, of Tulsa Rig Iron, understands how important recruiting talent can be to an industry that demands a broad spectrum of work skills. “Like all industries, pipeline construction, service and manufacturing are faced with the challenge of continually replacing its workforce with well-prepared workers at all levels. I’m proud to be a member of an organization that not only understands this challenge but consistently and collectively invests in human capital.”

This year’s club president, Shawn Lowman, of Pipeline Equipment Solutions, believes PLCT’s scholarship program further illustrates the organization’s longtime commitment to education as a means of maintaining the highest level of industry professionalism. “We understand how rapidly the pipeline industry has advanced over the years and the importance of keeping abreast of changes in our industry. Ongoing education is how we maintain best practice methodology throughout the pipeline industry. We continue to learn from the past and prepare for the future.”

SOURCE – Pipe Liners Club of Tulsa