Working 21 twelve-hour days in a row might sound daunting but Donald Booth liked that schedule. Donald Booth of the American Institute of Nondestructive Testing now offers a range of NDT training options for others in the industry. We sat down with him to discuss how training has changed over the years and how to get the most out of your classroom and on-the-job training.
Here's an excerpt of the interview. Listen to entire podcast below.
Quality: Could you tell us a little bit about your own career and how you got started in NDT?
Booth: Sure. I got started in 2000. 2006 and I started up on the North Slope of Alaska, so I started as a NDT trainee and I got my education at Ridgewater College, or Hutch, Hutchinson, which a lot of people in the industry will know it as, and that's down in Hutchinson, Minnesota, and then I moved, I stayed in Minnesota, but worked in Alaska. And I did a three week on three week off schedule, flew home every three weeks to Minnesota, and then flew back to work. I spent eight years up there, evolving and changing, and I became RT, MT, PT, VT, UT level two, and then moved into API 570 and API 653 certification and did some tank inspections on the North Slope of Alaska.
Quality: Wow, that's an interesting background. Definitely sounds not typical. Just such an interesting schedule. How was that? Was it difficult doing the three -week on three -week off?
Booth: You know, I really liked it. Some people don't. It's a matter of just mental focus. You know, you have 21, 12 -hour days in a row. Sometimes it's 40 below and dark for 24 hours, and then some days it's 50 above and light for 24 hours. So it's a different environment. You really have to get there and focus. But like we always say, a three -week vacation every three weeks is great if you can look at it that way. It helps you get to the light at the end of the tunnel of those 21 -12 -hour days in a row. Yeah, wow. I'll think of you next time I've worked five days in a row. Like, wow, this is only a quarter of the way in, so that's great.
Quality: So then from there, what prompted your move to doing more training yourself?
Booth: Well, I really enjoyed being a mentor. So whenever I had a trainee come in after I was certified level two, I would take that person and I would educate them and give them their experience hours, right? One of the most important segments of the required training to be certified in our industry. And I also noticed that I saw people coming from other education sources and said, "Yes, I have my education." And they just really didn't seem to understand a lot of things. I just thought it could be done better. I saw this opportunity that it's time to take the NDT education into the future. And I enjoyed teaching, I enjoyed being a mentor. So then I decided to kind of take a different look at how this is going to be done. NDT education was being delivered and created really the first online, hands-on hybrid school in the country. Chuck Hellier had NDT classroom and WorldSpec had their online, but no one had built an online with a full facility.
Quality: Are there any training trends you've noticed that either customers are asking for or just that you've kind of noticed people seem to need?
Booth: Well, you know, I think online has helped a lot. I think online is a great delivery system for the theory.