April 18, 2010
Hundreds of individuals in the engineering and geoscience communities honoured their peers at the 2010 Summit Awards® Gala, Thursday, April 15th at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton. The event, hosted by The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA), acknowledges outstanding individuals for their accomplishments in engineering, geology and geophysics.
Now in its 20th year, the Summit Awards® recognize excellence across a broad range of engineering and geoscience endeavors and salute the efforts of professionals who work to ensure public safety and well-being. Summit Award® recipients are leaders who have a significant positive impact upon Alberta.
Eleven awards were presented this year; celebrating superior leadership, early accomplishment, environmental sustainability, technical and educational achievement, mentorship, professional and community service and distinguished service to the Association.
Alan Taylor was awarded the 2010 Centennial Leadership Award for his work over the past 38 years as one of the leading natural gas compression authorities. This prestigious award is presented to an individual who has attained the highest level of distinction; relating to the science of engineering, geology or geophysics by reason of having been an executive or director of an outstanding project of continuing enterprise in which the nominee conducted, guided, directed or was responsible for the practice of the specific profession, or who has attained the highest distinction by reason of invention, research or original work, or who has attained the highest distinction by reason of an outstanding or exemplary career in the teaching of these fields.
After graduating with distinction from the mechanical engineering program at the University of Alberta in 1971, one of Alan’s first projects was to optimize a small fleet of natural gas compressors. With no analytical tools available at that time to diagnose compressor problems Alan worked through the issues by hand using standard formulae. The process was very onerous and, after performing hundreds of calculations and tests, he noticed that the equations and formulas were too simplistic. This realization sparked his initiative to develop an accurate system to diagnose compressor performance issues.
Through the 1970s Alan began writing programs in Fortran running on main frame computers; testing his equations in industry along the way. In the 1980s, with the advent of the personal computer, he began programming in Basic; with the vision of creating a non-invasive compressor diagnostic program. He continually worked many long days and weekends researching and programming on his own time. In the 1990s, the mass adoption of the internet allowed programs and systems to be run from anywhere in the world and Alan assembled a small team of engineers and software developers to try and launch a compressor optimization and fleet management company. The company was named Detechtion Technologies and the concept of managing and diagnosing compressor problems over the internet was underway. The first several years posed many challenges because the software concept envisioned had never been done before using the internet as the delivery platform.
Concurrently Alan pioneered the use of programmable logic controller panels on reciprocating compressors. These panels are now mainstream technology in the industry today. As the leading authority on natural gas compression equipment, he has presented papers at symposia in Canada and Europe on the non-invasive diagnostic technology that he continues to develop.
In addition to developing a first-of-its-kind online compressor fleet management system for gas producers around the world, Alan also created a mentoring program for all technical staff in Detechtion’s North American offices. He has taught thousands of engineers, mechanics, foremen and managers on the safe use, operation and optimization of compressor equipment.
His leadership at Detechtion has made it one of the fastest growing companies in Canada according to Profit 100. Alan worked with his team to successfully establish Detechtion in the United States in 2002, and the company currently has four offices in Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. In 2004, he expanded Detechtion’s operations to include the UK, South America and West Africa and in 2006 he further expanded Detechtion to Australia.
Established in 1920, APEGGA is responsible for regulating the practices of engineering, geology and geophysics in the province of Alberta. The association’s more than 57,000 members play a significant role in every segment of the economy, and their technical and management expertise ensure Alberta remains at the forefront of technological innovation.