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Symposium, open house to be held at WETC

Sun Advocate publisher

Steve Burge gives a tour of the WETC to some Chamber of Commerce members in July. Thursdays event will be open to the public.

The new Western Energy Training Center has been touted as a new venue for education in the mineral extraction business.

Later this week it will live up to that name as it celebrates it's grand opening with the Southeastern Utah Energy Producers Association symposium.

The symposium will be held Thursday afternoon from 1to 4 p.m. at the center and will feature energy experts from around Utah and some from out of state as well. The open house and symposium are open to the public at no cost.

Two sessions will be held with speakers Andrew Bremner (from the Independent Petroleum Association of the Mountain States), David Litvin (Utah Mining Association), Mike Hebertson (Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining) and Bob Topping (WETC) speaking about their various areas of expertise in the first go around.

In the second session Gary Swan (National Energy Foundation), Andrew Blemenfeld (Arch Coal), Duane Zavadil (Bill Barrett Corporation), Jim Kohler (Bureau of Land Management) and Steven Evans (MidAmerica Energy Holding Company) will speak about issues related to the energy industry.

Before the session begins (at noon) there will be a ribbon cutting and lunch will be served as the grand opening of the WETC begins.

This is the main building on the WETC campus. Here classes will be taught to energy workers and managers from all over the western United States. Many of Thursday's events at the SEUEPA symposium will be held in this building, which is part of the old Willow Creek Mine complex in Willow Creek Canyon.

The WETC now has been staffed so that it can serve the energy industry with the addition of some key people.

After Steve Burge was named director earlier this year he became acquainted with Dr. Robert Topping who has been the the department chair and campus administrator for the Wilsonville Training Center in Wilsonville, Ore. Topping worked with Burge on the development of the center and soon Burge found that Topping was just the kind of person he wanted to have at the center full time. After some time Topping agreed to move to the area and become the program coordinator for the center. Topping has many years of experience working in a training environment and did his doctorate work in the area of career education and workforce development pertaining particularly to the energy industry.

In addition the center has also acquired from the College of Eastern Utah, Stan Martineau, the well-known automotive department director. Martineau, who is widely known for his innovative teaching and training techniques that have made the CEU department one of the best automotive education programs in the country, will be the chief learning officer for the WETC.

In addition, Sam Quigley, who recently retired from Andalex, will be the industry coordinator for the WETC. His role will be to find out what industry training needs are, when industrial clients would like subjects taught and what kind of personnel will be needed to teach them.

Thursday's day of activity will end with a buffet dinner at the Elks Club in Price on Thursday night. At that banquet SEUEPA will be giving various awards to people who have been instrumental in the energy industry. The banquet is a by ticket event only.

The award recipients will be the Harvey family (going back four generations to Thomas C. Harvey who was born in 1860) in coal mining; the Savage Brothers (Savage Trucking) and Art Robinson (Robinson Trucking) in transportation, Gale Chapman (power generation) and Bill Barrett (formerly of the Bill Barrett Corporation) in the area of oil and gas.

"We're looking forward to showing the public our facility and what we will be doing at the WETC on Thursday," said Burge. "It is also a chance for citizens to hear from some of the experts in the energy field."

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