CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Monday, Del Mar College dedicated the 'Gulf Coast Growth Venture Process Technology Lab', and also gave tours of the new facility.
The lab was able to be built thanks to, in part, a $1.5 million donation from Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, which is a partnership between ExxonMobil and SABIC.
“The type of equipment that we have is just amazing, this is world-class operating equipment that no other community college has in the United States,” said DMC Executive VP and COO, Lenora Keas.
Paul Frisch, the site manager for GCGV, said the lab at DMC rivals ones he’s seen at four-year engineering programs across the country.
“Having a local workforce is something that’s important to us; this brand new facility really fosters that. It allows students here to become experts and to eventually get jobs in our industry,” he said.
This project has been in the works since 2019, but completion of the lab was delayed due to the pandemic since engineers from outside the U.S. were unable to come to the country to work on the project. Regardless, the project was finished, and students even started benefiting from working in the facility prior to its official unveiling to the public.
“Some of these processes can be difficult to understand, and having such a complex, expensive, wonderful unit makes it very easy to understand all the processes we’re trying to learn,” said Daniel Adams, a process technology student at DMC.
Adams worked in the building before this project even started, when the now lab was just an empty room. He said he couldn’t imagine then what it would look like now.
Another process technology student, Alexis Gutierrez, said having this equipment to work on while in school will make the Del Mar students experts by the time they graduate.
“I didn’t realize how much of a blessing it is for all of us, because most of us are visual learners, so it’s benefiting everybody,” she said. “It’s okay to make the mistakes here, because we’re learning and it’s better preparing us for our future in the workforce, so we aren’t making the mistakes out there.”
The overall hope with this lab, is that it will create high-skilled workers who will take those skills to work in local facilities across the Coastal Bend.
“Being a community college, we want to make sure that our families here, and our students, have the opportunities for these high-paying jobs,” Keas said. “You’ll hear from industry and business, that they’ve learned when they come into our region, they want to hire locally, because if they hire locally, the people will stay.”
“This is a great area to live in. We’ve got industry down here, and now we have a world-class training facility, here at Del Mar to train the workforce of the future for the Coastal Bend,” Fritsch said.