In this week’s episode of the Pipeliners Podcast, host Russel Treat celebrates the 250th episode. Russel revisits some of his favorite conversations and chats with Greg Dunn about the podcast infrastructure and what it takes to make the show happen.
Celebrating and Reflecting on 250 Episodes: Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms
- Greg Dunn is the Marketing Coordinator at EnerACT Energy Services. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn.
- EnerACT Energy Services is a holding company of oil and gas technology and service companies. EnerSys Corporation is a frequent sponsor of the Pipeliners Podcast. Find out more about how EnerSys supports the pipeline control room through compliance, audit readiness, and control room management through the POEMS Control Room Management (CRM Suite) software suite.
- Listen to Greg Dunn’s personal podcast Gearing Up: An Everyday Carry Podcast
- SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a system of software and technology that allows pipeliners to control processes locally or at remote locations.
- API (American Petroleum Institute) represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry. API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency, and sustainability.
- ILI (In-line Inspection) is a method to assess the integrity and condition of a pipeline by determining the existence of corrosion, cracks, deformations, or other structural issues that could cause a leak.
- Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) is a magnetic method of nondestructive testing that is used to detect corrosion and pitting in steel structures, most commonly pipelines and storage tanks. The basic principle is that a powerful magnet is used to magnetize the steel. In areas where there is corrosion or missing metal, the magnetic field “leaks” from the steel. In an MFL tool, a magnetic detector is placed between the poles of the magnet to detect the leakage field. Analysts interpret the chart recording of the leakage field to identify damaged areas and to estimate the depth of metal loss.
- Giancarlo Milano’s episodes
- Marc Lamontagne episodes
- Russel’s favorite Marathon Pipeline trio episode about hydraulic design for business development professionals
- Justin Shannon’s episodes on risk management and pipeline operations
- Episode 141 featuring Jun Zhang
- Mich Hager’s episode about K9 pipe inspection
- Pascal Ackerman and Clint Bodungen Special Edition episode about the Colonial incident
- Listen and watch Shawn Lyon’s episode at the 2022 API Conference
Celebrating and Reflecting on 250 Episodes: Full Episode Transcript
Russel Treat: Welcome to the “Pipeliners Podcast,” Episode 250, sponsored by Burns & McDonnell, delivering pipeline projects with an integrated construction and design mindset, connecting all the elements, design, procurement, sequencing at the site.
Burns & McDonnell uses its vast knowledge, the latest technology, and an ownership commitment to safely deliver innovative, quality projects. Burns & McDonnell is designed to build it all and keep it all connected. Learn more at burnsmcd.com.
Announcer: The Pipeliners Podcast, where professionals, Bubba geeks, and industry insiders share their knowledge and experience about technology, projects, and pipeline operations. And now, your host, Russel Treat.
Russel: Thanks for listening to the Pipeliners Podcast. I appreciate you taking the time, and to show that appreciation, we give away a customized YETI tumbler to one listener every episode. This week, our winner is Greg Key, an independent construction manager. To learn how you can win this signature prize, stick around until the end of the episode.
This week is Episode 250. That’s almost five years of weekly episodes. On this episode, I’m going to review some of my favorites, and I’m going to introduce you to Greg Dunn. We’re going to talk about what happens to put all of this together.
On this, the 250th episode of The Pipeliners Podcast, I was thinking about what might be different or a good approach to celebrate 250 episodes. You’ve got to realize, that’s five years of putting out an episode every week. It’s a lot.
It’s been a joy. I have learned a ton. I have met a large number of awesome people in our industry, and I’m very grateful that I think this podcast is something that the industry’s seeing of value. I thought what I would do to start is I really wanted to acknowledge my journey.
The learning curve for me has been immense. I’m coming from a place of measurement and then telecoms and then SCADA, and then control room, and then leak detection. That’s how I grew up. That’s my particular subject matter expertise in the pipelining domain.
When I started the podcast, I didn’t want to limit it to that. I really wanted to talk about all things pipelining. It’s been quite a journey, particularly early on, because it was pretty quickly I started working outside of my core expertise.
The other thing that happened pretty quickly, really about six to nine months in, I started getting feedback from people about, “Man, that episode was really good. That was really useful. I referred it to some other people,” and so forth.
I’m going to share some of my favorite episodes, and I’m going to tell you a little bit about why they are my favorite. Very early on, about six months in, I reached out to Giancarlo Milano with Atmos International. He is a leak detection matter expert. Very, very knowledgeable.
I’d worked with Giancarlo on some other projects, and I wanted to bring somebody on that I could have a deep in the weeds conversation about leak detection. We did a whole series of episodes – it’s actually Episode 24 through 28 – talking about all things fundamental to leak detection, different kinds of types. Talking about transient modeling, talking about statistical approaches to leak detection. We talked about negative pressure waves, we talked about rupture detection, and then we talked about leak response and training. That was kind of in my expertise, but certainly, Giancarlo’s a very sharp, knowledgeable guy, and I learned a ton from Giancarlo.
It was fun to get a perspective, and it was fun to go deep in the tech. That built my confidence and bit, and the next person that I reached out to, and another favorite series of episodes of mine is episodes I did with Marc Lamontagne. Marc is a PhD engineer with a specialization in ILI, inline inspection.
Before I got on these episodes with Marc, I would say that I knew what inline inspection was, but really had no idea about how it worked, how it was used, or any of the practical applications of that. I had a conversation with Marc, and he agreed to be on a series of episodes. Similar to what we did with Giancarlo talking about all things leak detection, we did a similar thing with Marc talking about all things ILI. We started out doing a series of episodes, and we did an episode on magnetic flux leakage, or MFL tools, really getting in the weeds around the technology and how it works.
Because of understanding instrumentation and signal processing, I was able to get that. We did another episode, and we talked about ultrasonic tools, what they do, how that technology works, and how that data is analyzed. Then we did an episode on inline inspection using geometry and mapping tools. Then we did an episode on data integration and analysis. Then we moved into technologies and talked about crack inspection and some other stuff. Very, very detailed, very technical. [laughs] With Marc, there were a number of times where I had to listen to an answer, stop him, and ask him to tell me again and use language I could understand, because that stuff’s pretty technical.
I think one of the things that I really appreciated, because both of those two series I did in the first year of doing the podcast, is I got feedback from people saying, “I never knew why we did something that way,” or, “I never knew how that worked.”
It was really rewarding. I would tell you that that information is as valid today as it was when we recorded it back in 2018. For anybody who wants to know about leak detection, you should go listen to the episodes we did with Giancarlo Milano. Anybody that wants to know about ILI and how it works, you should go listen to the episodes with Marc Lamontagne. A couple of my favorites.
Another of my favorites is anything that’s been done with the trio of folks at Marathon, so Jason Dalton, Dan Sensel, and Kyle Miller with Marathon Pipeline.
We did a number of episodes with them about various issues around leak detection, hydraulic modeling, and so forth. My favorite is the one we did on hydraulic design for business development professionals, really trying to talk about what does business development need in order to be successful in their role, and then what does engineering need to do the analysis to support the business development efforts, and how that interaction works.
I just thought that was a great episode. It was done in good humor. Anybody that works in pipelining knows that those two organizations can occasionally have friction. That’s just the nature of competing…I don’t want to say competing agendas. It’s not really that, it’s just that what business development has to do to be successful makes hydraulic engineering difficult, and the limitations of what you can do with hydraulic engineering makes business development successful.
We were trying to have a conversation around how to make those two things work more effectively together. I think, whenever you have an understanding for what your partner’s constraints, limitations, and challenges are, it works better. You have a more effective team. Really liked that.
This is another one. Justin Shannon, also with Marathon, who was referred by the Marathon trio, has done a couple of episodes on risk management in pipeline operations. My favorite is 78. The reason it’s a favorite is it’s another one of these situations where I had heard about risk management. It’s a hot topic and all that, but I really had no idea what risk management was in practice. What are those guys actually doing, and how are they approaching these things?
Justin, he’s certainly a leader in that domain – he participates in conferences, has written some white papers, and so forth – really, that episode, it’s also one of the most listened to episodes in the history of the podcast. If anybody wants to know about risk management, what are those people doing, how do they do it, and how do they use that data, it’s a great episode.
I came out of that particular episode with Justin saying, “You know, I think I actually understand what these guys are doing and why.” That was a big deal for me.
Another favorite of mine is Episode 141 and that episode is with Jun Zhang. Jun is the founder of Atmos International. She was born in China, went to university in England, went to work for Shell, started doing some work in leak detection, and then moved that work out of Shell into a commercial product. To me, it’s a fascinating story of an engineer/entrepreneur making a journey.
Certainly, Atmos and Jun’s work, it’s been transformational in our industry around adding accuracy and reliability to computer based leak detection. Great episode, and I really think the world of Jun and what she’s done. She’s been a mentor of mine probably more than what she realizes. Great episode, and I really enjoyed that one.
Another favorite is Mich Hager. Mich, she’s a dog trainer that got into using dogs for pipeline leak detection. I love dogs. My mother raised dogs. Learning what Mich did and her journey to get into that was just fascinating to me. Learned a lot about how the dogs work and why they’re as effective as they are at finding leaks. If you want to know about how dogs do pipeline leak detection, I recommend you listen to her episode. That’s 174 with Mich Hager.
I’ve had Pascal Ackerman and Clint Bodungen. I really think the world of Clint and what he does in cybersecurity. One of my favorite episodes from those guys was a special edition episode. I was able, right after the Colonial incident, like within a week after Colonial, we dropped an episode talking about the incident and trying to get out basic information about the incident so that other operators could learn and take action to implement mitigations or do whatever they thought they needed to do.
That is the most downloaded episode in the history of The Pipeliners Podcast, and I really appreciate Pascal and Clint and their ability to scramble and help us put something together quickly to try and benefit the industry.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview Shawn Lyon. It’s the first interview I did on video. Did it at the API Conference earlier this year. We talked about pipeline safety and information sharing. I really think the world of Shawn. He’s a great guy. Really appreciate the things that Shawn has done in his senior leadership role there at Marathon, how he responded to an event they had, and how he actively got information to other operators in the interest of safety.Fascinating episode. Recommend it.
I’ve got to say, of all the episodes I’ve done, favorite’s probably the wrong word to use for this. It’s certainly the episode I’m most proud of. That is Episode 79 with Larry Shelton, where he shares his personal experience around the Bellingham incident. Larry’s a pipeline executive, and he was boots on the ground the day after the Bellingham incident. He shares his story. It’s very compelling. I’ve had multiple, multiple, multiple people come tell me they listened to that and just really found it compelling.
I think it’s one of those stories that we as pipeline operators have an obligation to know about, to understand, and to get into our DNA around how we think about pipeline safety and pipeline operations. Very thankful for Larry, and that’s the episode I’m the most proud of, not because I did anything. It’s really Larry just sharing his story. The fact I was able to get Larry to come on board and share that story, and then the fact that it’s had the impact it’s had in our industry, and I think will continue to have. Anyways, that’s a rundown on my favorite episodes.
The other thing I want to talk about in acknowledgement of 250 episodes is just how much goes into doing this. I started this in November of 2017. To the best of my knowledge, at that time, I was the only person – and I think the first person – to do a podcast in the pipelining space.
When Covid shut everything down, there were a number of other people that started doing podcasts in this space. They’re all good, and they all offer value. Anyway, there’s a lot that goes into doing this. We do some things that not everybody doing a podcast does.
There’s a whole effort that has to happen upfront to find guests, get clear about what story they’re going to tell and how we want to tell it. I don’t produce these episodes, but I do sit down with people, explain what’s going to happen, and we come up with half a dozen questions or so that frame out what we’re going to talk about.
Generally, we’re pretty clear of what we’re trying to communicate or educate on, because the whole goal of this is education through conversation. There’s a whole process that goes on that involves finding the guests, getting them information they need, doing an intro call, and then actually doing the recording.
Then on the back side, once it’s recorded, there’s a whole other process that goes on, because we put a web page up for every episode. There’s the sound files there. There’s the show notes, which are links to resources, things we mentioned in the episode, documents that people might want to download, or white papers, or videos, or that kind of stuff.
Then there’s a full transcript of the episode. We do that, because really, the whole goal here is to educate and inform. We’re trying to create something that’s an industry resource. If you go onto the Pipeline Podcast Network website, in addition to all the episodes, you’re also going to find a resource page that has a lot of other things in it that could be of value to pipeliners.
Keith Coyle, one of our perennial guests, and his law firm contributes regulatory notices and detailed information about rulemakings as they’re working through the process, and as they’re final, they present detailed information. Keith’s my go-to guy on all things PHMSA rulemaking.
There’s a lot that goes on in the postproduction. Not just producing the sound and getting it all through all the things like Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud and all these other different places that you can go to listen to podcasts, but also building the web content and then taking that web content and making it searchable and getting it into the resources along with other kinds of assets and things.
Again, I’m trying to build something that’s a resource to pipeliners. I know that there are some pipeline companies out there that will cherry pick some of the episodes, and they’ll use them to onboard new engineers, which I think is awesome. It’s flattering that you hear things like that.
Lots goes on. Our sound guy, Chuck Dotson, has been with me since the beginning. He does a great job. [laughs] For those of you that listen, you don’t know about all the coughing and the pregnant pauses, and the sound leveling, and all the things that Chuck does to make it easy on the ears and help me sound intelligent. Just want a shout out for him.
Then I’m going to introduce you to a new gentleman who is taking over a whole lot of the podcast stuff for our company. He’s joined our team, and in fact, has a podcast himself. He is the man behind the curtain that gets all things done on the podcast.
He’s handling the Pipeliners Podcast and the Pipeline Technology Podcast, the Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast, and he actually has a podcast he does on his own completely unrelated to pipelining, but maybe some pipeliners have interest in.
Without any more introduction, let me welcome you to the podcast. Welcome aboard, Greg.
Greg Dunn: Hello. It’s awesome to be here. Thanks for inviting me on.
Russel: I just want to ask you to walk me through all the pieces and parts necessary to pull off a good quality podcast.
Greg: There’s a ton, and it’s crazy. The more you dive into it, the deeper you get in, you realize there’s a lot of layers here, and there’s a lot of things that have to happen correctly in order for it to function and to grow. The way that I separate it, I separate it into two silos. There’s the preproduction aspect of it and then the postproduction. I feel like this part, the recording part, is the easiest part, because when you’re doing a podcast, you’re talking about stuff that matters to you, that you are passionate about, and the folks listening obviously have an interest in it.
When it comes to preproduction, that’s everything from deciding the content, deciding the schedule, whether or not something’s going to be topical. Podcasts tend to live forever, so do you stick with typically evergreen content, or do you change it up?
There’s a lot of decision making there. Then, when you have a show with guests, you have to coordinate multiple schedules a lot of the time. Everybody’s calendar gets fuller and fuller, and so it’s tough to iron out all those details and get everybody on at the same time.
Even once you get that done, then it’s a matter of, let’s say, hopefully, the recording day comes, and nothing happens, nothing comes up, and everything goes as planned. You and I both know that that’s…
Russel: That always happens for me, Greg, every single time.
Greg: There’s a lot of playing around with schedules, balancing that, and getting it to work. Obviously, once you get the schedules hammered out, you get the guests lined up, you figure out the content, then it’s a matter of, OK, I’ve got this piece of content. I’ve got it recorded. It’s in the chute, but where is it going to go, where’s it going to live, and when does it make the most sense? That’s going to make or break whether or not it resonates, if it comes out at the right time or not.
When you get to that point, you’ve got a piece of content recorded, you’re scheduling it out, then it’s all the postproduction stuff. Editing the audio, you’ve got to make sure it sounds good. There’s a few video elements for some podcasts, but most podcasts are 100 percent audio. People are never going to see you. They’re just going to know your voice, and you’ve got to make sure that it sounds good.
Whether it’s the little white earbuds that you get with your phone or in a car stereo or just listening to a speaker around the house, audio quality is extremely important. Then it’s the actual publishing. Everybody uses different types of phones. Everybody uses different platforms. You’ve got to get it distributed to the right places.
There are some really great tools, especially some that we take advantage of, that put them in the right places, so everybody can access it wherever they prefer. Then there’s getting the message out. You can put a podcast out, just get it out there into the ether, and then it could just sit.
You’ve got to put some messaging behind it. You’ve got to put the right people behind it and get it out there. Once all of those things are in place, they’re put together, and they’re blended very nicely, then you end up with a successful show. At least, that’s the goal.
Jumping on board here, you’re at 250 episodes. It’s insane. It is absolutely unreal. The number of podcasts that make it that long…I think people either get burned out, they lose interest, or they just don’t get the return that they’re hoping for, so then they fizzle out.
This show has rocked it for, again, 250 episodes. That’s crazy.
Russel: Your enthusiasm is infecting about all of this. I definitely appreciate it. When I started all this, it looked a lot different than it does now. I guess the thing I want the listeners to know is, first off, the most fun is having the conversation.
One of the reasons I’ve been building a team is that’s the only part of this I want to do.
Russel: For those of you that are interested in being guests, sponsors, or any of that kind of stuff, you’re going to get the opportunity to know Greg and myself. Greg is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. I don’t know if you got it in what he just went through there, but there’s a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross along the way to make it go smoothly.
We work very hard to make it easy for the guests. If somebody’s interested in being a guest, we’ll set up an intro call. I’ll talk to them about how we do it. We’ll talk about what we want to talk about, get them educated about the process, and then we actually schedule the recording and so forth.
That’s really, other than reviewing the written content we create on the website around the episode, really, all guests have to do is an intro call, a recording, and a review. The rest of it, we’re doing it all ourselves. Anyways, it’s a lot. I’ll just tell you, Greg, I’m very glad to have you on the team. You’re already adding value.
My stress level related to scrambling to get an episode every Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. is way down now that you’re onboarded and getting it done. Nobody’s more grateful than me to have you on the team, I’ll tell you that, for sure.
Greg: One thing I wanted to touch on. You mentioned doing the intro call. This is an approach I think some people undervalue, because it’s crazy. You listen to any of the episodes of anything on the Pipeline Podcast Network, and oftentimes, you’re 30, 45 seconds in, and you’re diving right into the topics.
People don’t take into consideration that you’ve had that 20, 30 minutes to establish some rapport and build an outline of the journey you want to walk through in your conversation. To me, that polishes the podcast to a completely new level.
When you go in cold, and you start trying to piece something together, you don’t have any idea where it’s going to go, the quality of the content suffers. That’s something I think is extremely important, and like I said, people undervalue it. It’s a good thing to get into.
Russel: You make a great point. It’s one of the things that people don’t understand about what’s going on. That’s fine. I just wanted to share with people some of the things we’re doing. That’s the purpose of this conversation. I’ve been on other podcasts as a guest where they just pretty much, they just turn the mics on and go.
I can do that, but I think with what we do in the Pipeline Podcast Network, because of the amount of content and the technical nature of that content, and what we’re really trying to do is education through conversation, we’ve got to put a little bit of structure around it so that people can follow technically what we’re talking about.
Likewise, I still want it to be a conversation and organic. I always tell the guests, “Look, the feeling I’m going for is like a couple of people at the bar at the end of a conference are having a conversation and several other people are standing around listening in.”
I want that kind of level of organic, and that kind of level of, we’re in the context. We’re with people that speak our language, that kind of thing. I think that’s one of the reasons it’s been as successful as it has. Hey, look, why don’t you tell us about your podcast?
Greg: Oh, man. [laughs] I love it. Thanks for the plug opportunity here. Just to give some folks a little bit of very short, brief history, before I started doing podcasts, I worked in podcast advertising. I was immersed in that world before I ever got behind a microphone.
In my spare time, free time, what little I have – I’ve got two young kids, so that amount of time is really small – I’m big into knives and everyday carry is the term that we use. I started a podcast a couple years ago, just set out with, “Hey, could I do 100 episodes? Could I get there?”
I accomplished that goal a little while back. Yeah, basically, my podcast is called “Gearing Up.” It’s all about everyday carry stuff, so knives and people that make knives and other similar gear. I’ll have makers and content creators on, and we talk about the process, the industry, and all of that stuff.
It’s a lot of fun. I didn’t expect it to turn into something, but it popped up a little bit, and I’m pretty proud of it.
Russel: Well, cool. Can I ask, how many episodes do you have in total on that?
Russel: That puts you in a very, very small number of podcasters. I don’t know what the statistics are today, because they change pretty quickly. It’s probably been a year since I took a deep dive, but it’s something like 10,000 new podcasts are started every day.
Greg: I believe that.
Russel: Of those, less than one percent get beyond 25 episodes, and beyond 1,000 downloads. If you’re beyond that, you’re in the top one percent.
Greg: That’s good to know. That’s comforting. That makes me feel like I’m putting my time to good use.
Russel: I would not hire a slacker. I want the top performers on the team.
Greg: For sure.
Russel: Gearing Up, that’s the name of your podcast?
Greg: Yes, sir, Gearing Up.
Russel: We’ll link all that up on the show notes, because I know a lot of folks in our business like that kind of stuff. You never know. It might get you a listener or two.
Greg: [laughs] There we go. Appreciate it.
Russel: Well, hey, Greg, I guess we’ll wrap this up. I just want to let you know, I really appreciate having you on board. Really looking forward to working with you on all of this and excited about what we’ll be able to do in the future.
For all the listeners out there, we are always looking for people that have great stories that pipeliners will be interested in. If you’d like to be a guest, reach out to us on the Contact Us page, and Greg or myself will be following up with you and put you into the pipeline to start the conversation.
Then lastly, I’ll also say, for those of you that might be interested in sponsoring, same thing. Give us a holler. Let us have a conversation. We’d like to work with you to create content that pipeliners can learn from and find value in. All right, Greg, well, look, welcome aboard.
Greg: Thank you.
Russel: I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the Pipeliners Podcast and our celebration of 250 episodes. Just a reminder before you go. You should register to win our customized Pipeliners Podcast YETI tumbler. Simply visit PipelinePodcastNetwork.com/Win and enter yourself in the drawing.
If you’d like to support this podcast, please leave us a review where you listen, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher. You can find instructions at PipelinePodcastNetwork.com.
Russel: If you have ideas, questions, or topics you’d be interested in hearing about, please let me know, either on the Contact Us page at PipelinePodcastNetwork.com, or you can reach out to me directly on LinkedIn. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.
Transcription by CastingWords