Valve World Americas sat down with the Managing Aging Plants USA Conference and Expo Chairman, Mr. Sam Davis, President of RFS Compliance Solutions, to discuss his experiences in the industrial sector and working with aging infrastructure, and why he feels this is an important event for engineers of all ages and experiences to attend.
By Brittani Schroeder and Catarina Muia
Sam Davis has grown up in the industrial sector. As young as five years old, Sam was cleaning flanges and throwing them onto pallets for shipment to customers. While in high school, Sam worked for an industrial demolition company, demolishing stacks, flare headers, columns, silos, tanks, pipelines and more.
“When I went to college, I focused on getting my business management degree, and when finished, I went to work for a valve manufacturer,” he says. “I started off as a Key Account Manager, and after 10 years I became the Global Sales Director. I gained a complete knowledge of the valve manufacturing business, including going to actual valve manufacturing facilities and watching casting pours, to going into the field to see how they operate. I have spent time on job sites, worked turnarounds, been part of grassroots projects, helped put skids together, and so much more. Once you are in the oil and gas industry, it is unlikely that you will leave it.”
In 2018, Sam founded RFS Compliance Solutions and acts as the company’s President. “I sat down with some of my peers and we talked about what was missing from the industry. I decided to start the new company because we saw the importance of environmental regulations, and a lot of companies need assistance to meet compliance requirements. We create solutions for companies for them to adhere to these regulations,” Sam explains.
Working with Aging Infrastructure
Sam and his team work on the MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) side of the industry. As an environmental company, RFS Compliance Solutions audits companies that potentially emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), while helping these companies stay within regulations. “We offer companies guidance on staying within regulations, to ensure they meet the criteria that are placed upon them by the state or the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency),” says Sam. “As an example, in California, the state regulations are stricter than the EPA, but in Kansas it is the opposite. Along with the EPA and state regulations, we need to know if there are any municipal regulations to follow; the city of Houston has its own regulations on top of the Texas state regulations, for example.”
The goal is to help companies run their plants more efficiently. The team looks at bolted joint integrity, helps with drill and tap management, and teaches plant personnel how to successfully repack valves. Sam continues, “We can also help out with acoustic monitoring, which is a technology/device designed to check for internal leakage in closed loop system, such as relief valves, and help you understand where you are losing internal pressure. Ultimately, it will be able to save you from a lot of lost product over time.”
Becoming the Chairman of Managing Aging Plants USA
Sam’s first time at the Managing Aging Plants USA event was purely by chance, but after spending a bit of time inside the conference, he knew he would always want to be a part of it going forward. “I was meeting a colleague at the event, and what I saw was much more than expected,” Sam says. “Along with the expo booths and the wide array of companies involved, I was able to attend some of the conference’s technical sessions, and the topics really struck my interest.”
When speaking about his desire to be Chairman of the event, Sam relays, “I want people attending the conference to discuss industry issues in hopes of effecting change, while implementing them into our aging plants. I think the conference brings with it a lot of potential for success, for a wide range of professionals.”
Focusing on the Right Issues
Sam is looking forward to working closely with the steering committee for this year’s event. “I want us to create a conference that touches all areas our industry. I want to talk in-depth about these issues, whether the workshop is focused on welding, shortages, turnarounds, organization, communication, etc.,” he relays. “I think a lot of problems in our aging plants could be solved much quicker if communication between the plant’s teams/divisions is handled better. Bringing together maintenance, environmental, and reliability personnel at this conference to talk about what issues they are facing in real-world situations will truly help our industry.”
Sam is also striving to have the workshop sessions run by industry experts, so that the right information is being shared with all attendees. “Our keynote speakers this year are really great, and they are going to be talking about a lot of topics that the industry does not normally address,” he states. “Our workshop sessions are going to be issues-based, rather than product-based, and what better way to talk about industry issues than in a forum like this.”
Attending Managing Aging Plants USA
To Sam, one of the most important reasons for attending Managing Aging Plants USA is to close and reduce the risk of a knowledge gap. “Your plant might be experiencing issues even as you attend the show, but you might meet some people from another plant who have run into similar issues and can help you understand how to address the issue and fix the problem quickly. You can talk out the issues and find solutions together,” he says. “One of the biggest opportunities this event provides is the chance to network with other industry professionals. This new connection could be someone you just talk to at the event, or it could be a resource for you to learn from for years after the event ends.” As a range of topics are discussed at the event, Sam’s hope is that widespread industry issues found across the globe can eventually be a thing of the past.
“This event is for everyone working with aging infrastructure – from operators, to maintenance, to environmental, to reliability, to management, and everyone in between,” says Sam. “For the younger engineers, the best thing about this event will be the chance to network with experienced engineers. These connections could last a lifetime. For the older, more experienced engineers, they know their education is never over, and this is a great place to learn about new technologies that could possibly solve industry pain points. We all need to share what we know, and by doing so, we will create safer facilities, and an overall safer industry for everyone.”