Developing the Workforce of the Future

Developing the Workforce of the Future

The following content was originally published in the Tesoro Martinez Community Newsletter. Read more articles here: Tesoro Martinez Community Newsletter – Winter 2017

Tesoro Gives Students On-the-Job Experience

How do college students these days figure out what they want to do after graduation? And even if they think they know what they want to do, do they really understand what is involved day to day? That’s where internships come in—they provide a chance for engineering students to gain real-world experience in their field of study, to engage and manage projects that are business relevant. At Tesoro, interns can get a head start on their careers and help pay for school. Our internships are paid—not all companies do that.

“I have been involved with the summer internship program for five years. I have seen a lot of bright students spend their summers here at Martinez and then come back to join us as full-time employees,” explains Eric Legare, Manager of Process Development, who oversees the intern program at Tesoro’s Martinez Refinery.


The interns explored all parts of the refinery to get a better understanding of its operations.

“Over the last few years, the summer interns have worked on great projects to improve refinery performance, energy efficiency and safety,” he adds. “We see the summer internship program as a valuable tool to help us create the next generation of leaders
at Tesoro.”

This summer, Tesoro Martinez had five engineering interns, all seniors at either UC Berkeley or UC Davis: Andrew Mikhail (UCB) and Nicholas Aikawa (UCD) worked as mechanical engineers, and Teddy Sun (UCB), Clair Floyd (UCD) and Michael Tate (UCD)
worked as process engineers.

All five interns worked on important projects that aimed to improve efficiency in the refinery. For example, Sun was assigned to work on temperature mapping for the delayed coker unit. He was tasked with mapping out the different temperatures throughout the process and determining if there was any wasted energy. “I liked working at Tesoro because what I’ve learned in school is directly relevant to the projects I’m working on here,” says Sun. “It’s exciting being able to take what I’ve learned in my classes and apply it to real-life situations.”

Floyd worked on a water usage project, which was split into two parts. The first part was to map out the water that needs to be handled differently from other water streams. The second part of the project was to identify opportunities to use water more efficiently.

“Tesoro knows that, as a valued member of the community, it needs to explore ways to cut back on water usage. There are a lot of opportunities for the refinery to save money on water and improve the process,” observes Floyd, regarding the water minimization project.

The mechanical engineer interns, Mikhail and Aikawa, focused their time on researching design temperatures and creating new drawings that will improve how piping and pumps are reflected for a key process unit.

They worked together to redesign two pressure vessels that are scheduled to be replaced in 2018, and they conducted the necessary calculations to design and improve the equipment. Even though the restoration of this unit will occur long after their internship ends, Mikhail and Aikawa are proud to be part of such a major project that will be around for many years to come.

Often, Tesoro’s interns turn out to be some of our best new employees. In fact, since the inception of this intern program here in Martinez, Tesoro has hired more than half of the interns who worked here.

The refining industry is unique, and giving engineering students the ability to get hands on experience, work side by side with experienced engineers and get a taste of what daily life in a refinery is like is another example of Shared Value. Tesoro benefits from building a pipeline of potential new employees, and the students benefit by gaining valuable career path guidance.

Click here to learn more about opportunities at Tesoro.