Yates Engineering Internship…A Experience to Build Upon

Brianna and Tripp - Yates Engineering Summer Internship...A Experience to Build Upon -Forest Biomaterials NC State University

Tripp Barfield is a third-year student in the Paper Science and Engineering program and feels fortunate about his internship with  Yates Engineering, in the Greenville, SC office. Yates is a consulting engineering firm that assists in major capital projects for various pulp and paper manufacturing companies.  Tripp said, ” I was lucky to secure an internship with Yates. I previously interned with Domtar at the Plymouth, NC facility but because of the pandemic Covid-19, Domtar was forced to cancel my internship. Fortunately, I heard Yates was still looking for interns and that prompted me to investigate and pursue the opportunity.  With this, I could continue to receive industry experience, but on the Project Management side.”

Process Flow Diagrams & Front End Loading

Tripp said his experience at Yates was extremely positive. “First and foremost, the people whom I worked  with were truly great people. The staff in the Greenville, SC office are dedicated to their work, while also conducting a caring and helpful attitude towards others especially interns. Most of my work revolved around capital projects.  I worked on P&IDs and Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs), while also learning about AutoCAd and other process simulation software to enhance a few ongoing projects within the industry.”  Yates put emphasis on the “Front End Loading” FEL process for the interns. The FEL is an estimation and scheduling process that is separated into four different sections which outlines how the engineering work is to be carried out on any project. The goal is to get as close as possible to the targeted budget placed on the project by the end of the fourth and last section of FEL called “Detailed Design.”

There were a few weeks where I traveled to different mill sites assisting in laser scanning operations of the Stock Prep and Back-end operation areas of the paper mill as well, as tracing and walking down targeted steam lines that will be drawn into CAD files for estimating purposes. Seeing the various technology used, such as laser scanning, was cool and interesting.

Tripp said he learned a lot this summer at Yates. Being exposed to the business aspect of Project Management and getting a feel for how Yates and their clients approach different projects was a great experience that will only enhance my knowledge of the Pulp & Paper Industry.

Brianna Bui is a second year student and also interned at Yates Construction this summer. Her first encounter with Yates was at the Paper Industry Career Fair last September. Within the first couple of minutes of talking to them, Brianna knew she wanted to pursue an internship with them. Brianna said, “they were the type of people that I wanted to work with – passionate about their work and willing to share their invaluable knowledge.”

AutoCad, WinGEMS and so much more

This was Brianna’s first internship and she said she was a little nervous and did not know what to expect going in. On her first day, everybody at Yates was so welcoming and excited to meet the new interns. They were quick to lend a helping hand and teach about their own work and projects. Because Yates is a construction company, she was not familiar with their process, and there was a lot of new skills and information she had to learn. However, she said, “I was still able to translate a lot of what I learned in class to my work. Within my first couple of weeks at Yates, I had been able to get the experience of being in an office setting and a mill setting.” I She learned how to use many programs in the office such as AutoCAD and WinGEMS while getting hands on experience at a mill. Brianna’s  focus was on piping, so she will be able to  pick out the different types of pipes in a mill, she followed pipes and machinery on P&IDs, General Arrangements (GAs), and drawings. Yates has also put an emphasis on the interns learning about the consulting engineering side. We learned about the “FEL”, Front-End Loading, process and how it drives each project. This process allows Yates and their client to stay on schedule while maintaining the budget for the project.

Brianna said “her time with Yates has been nothing short of incredible. Learning about the business and project management side of the paper industry has been eye-opening, giving me a whole new avenue of career paths that I could pursue. I am looking forward to continuing this summer internship with Yates and cannot wait to see where this will lead me!”

Interns Gain Knowledge and Yates Benefits

Will Blackmon, Project Manager from Yates went on to comment;  “During their internship, one area that we focused our efforts on was familiarizing them with the “FEL” or “FEP” (Front End Loading or Front End Planning) process.  This acronym varies between most of the Pulp and Paper Industries, but the intent and the steps are generally the same across all or out clients.  Our pulp and paper clients use this “gated” process to ensure capital and maintenance projects are properly thought out and executed in as efficient a manner as possible. Brianna and Tripp participated in high level discussions and training about this concept and they have been involved in meetings on specific projects that are going through various phases in the process.  They both have also been a tremendous help in developing a tool that better outlines this process to the next set of interns and/or recent graduate hires here at Yates; while increasing their understanding of the process simultaneously.

The other focus area has been getting them into mills to see what we do in person.  They took a trip to a mill for an entire week (in addition to a couple of shorter trips), helping with a confidential client/project.  This field time provides valuable learning experiences, and gives them a flavor for a large part of what we do here at Yates.  It was a great time to get them into this particular mill as some or all of the machine was down during their visits.  This allowed them to get a closer look than they otherwise would have if the machine was fully operational.

Guest Bloggers Tripp Barfield, Brianna Bui, NC State students and Will Blackmon, Project Manager at Yates