Stephen Rowland is the inspections technology program director housed at the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology at San Jacinto College who can boast working on the International Space Station on his resume.
"Working on NASA's space shuttle power generators was one of the most satisfying jobs I've ever worked on," said Rowland. "The auxiliary power units were shutting down, and it was a huge problem. I was able to figure out what happened and solve the problem."
Rowland's work has taken him all over the world — from nuclear power plants in Italy to offshore robotics work in Sweden and Norway and jobs in Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates.
"I felt like a mad scientist for hire," said Rowland. "I would go in and listen to the problem, then get to work. It can be tedious, but you have to put the work in."
The demand for quality non-destructive testing inspectors is high, especially in the Houston area.
"With recent incidents like the ITC tank fire, quality inspectors are needed more than ever," said Rowland. "To be a great inspector, you must be able to make the final decision and be confident that it is the right one for the safety of everyone."
To find the issue, sometimes you have to "look at each problem like a detective," said Rowland. "The first step is to listen and understand the problem. You have to have the math and engineering skills but also be willing to do the tedious work to rule out all possibilities."
Rowland is proud of the quality of students who come out of San Jacinto College's inspections technology program.
"Our program has been rated top in the country," Rowland said. "I'm proud of the exceptional students who graduate from our program. Many get hired before graduation and go to work for local contractors."