Senior becomes first student to earn boiler license

Photo of Noah Barton by the boiler system in Facilities Services.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

As a first-year student, Noah Barton decided to apply for employment in Facilities Services because his sister, who attended Grand Valley, worked there.

The Grand Rapids native, now a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, has spent four years working side-by-side with engineers to make sure Grand Valley's boilers are running efficiently.

"I've learned a wide range of skills, for example, how to check pumps, water pressure and steam pressure, to make sure they stay in the correct margins," he said.

Barton's training led him to earn a boiler operators and boiler engineers license, making him the first student to achieve this certification.

"The training was interesting and challenging and I came to realize I wanted to make this a career," Barton said. "I needed 2,000 hours to achieve a license and I was already receiving that training as part of my student employment."

To sit for the exam, Barton needed to master several skills, including steam system operation and maintenance; fluid systems design; installation, operation and maintenance regulations; safety procedures and combustion controls, just to name a few.  

Richard Kleis, an engineer with Facilities Services for 21 years, served as a trainer and mentor to Barton. He said he wasn't surprised Barton received a perfect score on his licensure exam.

"Noah learned quickly and he easily grasped the concepts of his training," said Kleis. "Noah does what you ask and he asks questions. Our two boilers heat 75 percent of campus and he learned how to maintain, troubleshoot and fix problems with the boilers. He also had to learn about the chillers and the computer system to run it."

After graduating in April, Barton plans to use his degree to design heating and cooling systems.




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