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WSC Welcomes New Petroleum Instructor
North Dakota Ag Connection - 09/14/2018

The newest member of the Teton family, Alexey Kovalev joins Williston State College as its Petroleum Technology instructor this fall.

Originally from a small suburb outside of Moscow, Russia, Kovalev spent the last five and a half years in Grand Forks, ND. Kovalev attended the University of North Dakota and earned both his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Petroleum Engineering.

Prior to studying and working in the United States, Kovalev served as a translator for international oil and gas companies. While working on these projects and streamlining communication between bilingual groups, Kovalev became fascinated with the work being done around him.

"As a translator, you get to learn a lot about a thing, but you don't get to learn the thing itself," explained Kovalev. "I was like a seagull gliding above the ocean but never diving in for the fish. I wanted to dive in." When the opportunity opened up for Kovalev to earn an engineering degree in English, the international language of oil and gas, he took it.

Kovalev discovered WSC's job posting on Indeed.com in April. "I applied but I didn't think WSC would call me back," said Kovalev. "I wasn't expecting the call but, in the end, it worked out for both sides!"

Kovalev visited Williston at least three times prior to joining WSC. "I am excited to be in the heart of the petroleum industry," stated Kovalev. "This is the place to be and the WSC Petroleum program offers a lot of opportunity."

"The Petroleum program at WSC is excited to have Alexey," said Pam Rasmussen, Regional Director for Technical Programs and Training. "His educational background in Petroleum Engineering will lend itself well to this program's future development. The program's current automation and lease operator tracks will be refined but will continue, with enhanced training in basic electrical and mechanical/industrial maintenance added in the future."

While possessing a very strong engineering background, Kovalev admits that automation is new to him. "I will learn alongside the students," explained Kovalev. "I am excited to learn and grow and to make a difference in the educational opportunities available to students. I want industry interaction and input and making this program meaningful to the employer and student."

Industry partnerships have been key to the program's success and will continue to ensure program relevance. Additionally, the WSC Petroleum program will work collaboratively with TrainND Northwest to better align college credit offerings with workforce training opportunities.

"Williston reminds me of home in some ways," explained Kovalev. "I like the wilderness part, it's not all trimmed and mowed."

Kovalev will be joined in Williston by his wife and two kids in October.

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