Bechtel’s Global Strategy for Equipment Manager Education

By G.C. Skipper | January 28, 2013

Texas-based Bechtel Equipment Operations has taken AEMPU and run with it.

The company has deployed equipment managers to 15 different countries, according to Ken Burke, CEM and Bechtel’s service operations manager. Those countries include Angola, Chile, Peru, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Canada.

“My objective is to have the bulk of our on-site equipment managers obtain CEM status by the end of this year,” Burke says. “In addition, seven junior employees are enrolled in the Equipment Management Specialist (EMS) program that leads to a CEM, and one person has completed the course. We want a number of others to earn EMS status by the end of the year or early next year.”

The updated AEMP University online programs have significant value for Bechtel, Burke says, citing Angola as an example. The manager there, who is from Poland, worked with Burke about five years ago on a project in Iceland.

“From Iceland we moved him over to Angola,” he says. “It is very hard to get him out of there to return to the U.S. to sit for the CEM. The same is true for other countries where we have employees. Now the global reach of CEM makes accreditation easier.”

The CEM designation is important, “because, ideally, what it is doing is raising the bar of technical expertise with regard to equipment management,” Burke says. “It drives our behavior. It lets the employer and the people who deal with equipment managers know that this individual has taken the time, gone through the testing, and has studied the financial and risk management aspects of equipment management, the completing program.”

Throughout the fabric of Bechtel’s corporate structure is “a push to ensure we have accredited people in all of our various positions,” he says. Not everybody needs to be an equipment manager, Burke says.

“We have some folks in procurement. We have personnel in accounting and others in various departments, such as safety. What I’m trying to do is pick and choose courses in the AEMPU program that are equipment-centric. A grounding in equipment knowledge helps non-equipment personnel better perform their jobs in supporting the actual equipment manager who is out there on the work site,” he says.

For example, accounting department individuals are given the chance to learn useful machine life, both economical and mechanical. That helps them better understand why machines are depreciated in a certain way. They begin to understand insurance and risk management pertaining to equipment.

“The equipment industry is different from your automobile policy,” he says. “The AEMPU program keeps individuals from having to learn their jobs through the school of hard knocks.”