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Tuesday, July 16, 2024


July 25, 2003 — Two recent events featuring Hovensa have put the community in touch with activities at the oil refinery. Ten interns enrolled in the process-technology degree program completed an intensive summer work experience at the refinery, and 250 St. Croix business people listened to Hovensa's new chief operating officer, Larry Kupfer, and the leadership team speak on their plans for Hovensa, on St. Croix and abroad.
Five male and five female interns completed an intensive summer program Friday at the Hovensa plant on the south shore of St. Croix. It included eight weeks of firsthand experience designed to combine the theory with the application of the study of Process Technology.
Nemiah Augustin, Janella Christian, Natalie Dick, Stephen Dujon, Linda Garcia, Kethel Foy, Andrew Mayapin, William Peter, Trish St. Jean and Eddison Thomas — the students enrolled in the first Associate of Applied Sciences degree in the process- technology program — accepted certificates for successful completion of the summer program from instructor Anthony Bolah. The advanced degree program is a cooperative effort between the University of the Virgin Islands and Hovensa, L.L.C.
The degree program began in the fall of 2002 and concludes for the first enrollees in May 2004. The program prepares students to enter employment as operations technicians in the process industry, which includes oil production, refining, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, power generation, utilities, wastewater treatment facilities management, and food processing. It was developed to meet the need for skilled operations technicians for Hovensa and other industries.
The summer program put students to work in the operations, maintenance, technical service and economic planning departments at the refinery.
The associate degree program is designed to "attract qualified people," according to Eric Douglas, a chemical engineer and program coordinator of the UVI program. In a June 2003 UVI release, he noted that the program has attracted non-traditional students to UVI. "Some of these people already have degrees," he said. "Most of them are older than 25, and five are women." Douglas anticipates that through this program the refinery could employ "25 to 35" qualified individuals each year.
Upon completion of two years of course work in process technology, students can expect to earn salaries up to $40,000 annually. "I am very confident there will be a place for you when you complete your degree program," said Mike Bachoo, senior manager at Hovensa. He challenged the interns to "take on the responsibility of all aspect of refinery work" and to keep safety as their first priority.
Although most of the instructors are senior employees of Hovensa, Douglas said building a teacher pool remains a "challenge" and noted the need to increase the number of instructors.
Hovensa introduces Kupfer and team
In another recent community event, Hovensa hosted more than 250 members of the St. Croix business community at a special meeting of the Chamber of Commerce "Business After Hours."
The event offered the community a chance to meet the new chief operating officer, Larry Kupfer, and the Hovensa "leadership team." The refinery management also offered tours showcasing parts of the refinery never seen before by the public: the newly constructed coker plant, the ship channel, sulfur plant and wastewater treatment plant.
Kupfer told the guests that despite a changing of the guard, the company's vision for the future remains the same. He offered comparisons between the oil industry and other manufacturers and showed a timeline for major capital improvements slated for the refinery leading up to 2007.
St. Croix Chamber president Frank Fox said Hovensa's efforts will continue to positively impact the local economy. He said Kupfer's presentation showed the giant oil refinery is moving aggressively towards the future, and will remain a viable part of both the Virgin Islands' and the world's economies.

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