MasterClass: Shutdowns & Turnarounds – 2018

Posted on August 20th, 2018

After several years absence, John McLay, the author of “Practical Management for Plant Turnarounds,” technical manual and creator of the training seminar “Masterclass: Shutdowns & Turnarounds,” will again be hosting this event at the West Edmonton Mall Conference Center, Tuesday to Thursday, December 4-6, 2018.

For this training event the class size will be restricted to 10 persons.

Marketing and applications will start in early September.

Learning to work with Word Press

Posted on April 29th, 2017

It came to my attention some time ago that the Edmonton Public Library allows folks to enroll in three training seminars per year. The ones I researched did not cost anything. So I enrolled in one on Web page development that teaches a person about HTML & CSS source code which is quite difficult but interesting. The EPL also had one on how to work with a Word Press website so I enrolled in that also. The second lesson is how to write and publish a post. And that is what this is.

Why I have turned my attention to this area of learning is a result of the last two years of my life taking me in a somewhat different direction. I have written a book, soon to be published, titles CANCER – Never Surrender – Its personal. I did not surrender and I have been successful. More later. So lets see if I learned how to publish a post – Here goes.

STO Consulting: Efficient, Expedient and Cost Effective

Posted on April 3rd, 2015

One of the most cost effective and efficient ways to reduce the turnaround scope is to optimize the turnaround plant shutdown work list. Optimization takes time as past asset histories must be reviewed and collated into a usable format and then the inspection frequency assessment is compared to an in house or other acceptable standard. Once in place the operating facility reviews what work can be completed without shutting down of the process.



John McLay recently had the opportunity to assist Plains Midstream Canada Ltd at their Buck Creek Frac Plant (BCFP) located southeast of Drayton Valley Alberta. In this post, John recounts to us his experience with Plains Midstream, as well as highlighting the difference that knowledgeable and experience consultant can make in making a Shutdown, Turnaround and Outage efficient, expedient and cost-effective…as well as fun!

A few years back, just after planning and executing a piping soil to air inspection program, the plant manager required apart time person to assist with contractor coordination and engineering support. This was for corrosion under insulation inspection (CUI), asbestos abatement work and other smaller engineering projects. As the manager realized that they did not have an inspection history central file, digital or hardcopy, to review for the upcoming turnaround, there was an understanding that this project would be quite the undertaking. The TAR was just over 2 years away. He asked me if I would be willing to multi task all three areas, taking on an almost full time schedule for several months as a contractor. I agreed to this and while coordinating on site contractor work, developed an asset file folder structure and summary excel spreadsheet, originally spread over four separate sets of inspection history documents. Basically, I put all the documents under one roof for ease of filtering and review. The individual asset file folders numbered just over 150, with just under 100 being within the pressure boundary.

The following year, I asked these folks if they would like to come into Edmonton to attend the “MasterClass: Shutdowns & Turnarounds,” training seminar. However due to the number of interested people, cost and time lost to attend, it was decided to host the training at a local Drayton Valley College campus. This has turned into a successful and local annual event: bringing international certified and recognized training to small town Alberta.

With the BCFP plant coming into the turnaround year and that I was familiar with the site equipment, the plant manager invited me to attend the work scope generation kick off meeting. There were some surprising results due to the TAR frequency optimization

1.)  TAR schedule was reduced from 11 days to 6 and one shift (days) – previous scopes and time frame because:

2.)  Number of assets was reduced to 24 for this event and then further reduced for outage work

3.)  Number of assets requiring a plant shutdown was reduced to 6 (requires only one day of overtime)

4.)  Number of Pressure Safety Valves (PSV’s) or regulatory inspection: 76

5.)  Number of PSV’s requiring a plant shutdown will be less than 20

6.)  Planning for the work scope and work scope support systems is 15 full time weeks spread over 7 months.

7.)  Number of planning meetings is 2 per month, at 3 hours each, for 8 months.

8.)  Specific savings in fabrication costs, long term lead items, shipping, purchases

9.)  Site personnel were actively involved, completed 75% of the work and retained the knowledge on site

10.)               Schedule was reduced so now a simpler Gantt chart will be used.

11.)               Highlights within the TAR year

  1. Moth ball 25% of the plant is included in the planning (2 weeks)
  2. Moved 2 towers forward to 2015 inspection and reduce 2020 inspection load for TAR efficiency
  3. Site visits and contractor schedules were cost maximized to the benefit of contractor low work periods with maximum experience and equipment availability.
  4. Increased Engineering project work by 300% due to availability of TAR planning time

It is anticipated that the cost of the TAR was reduced by 30% and the schedule reduced by 40%. This in accounting terms says the TAR was completed for less than 50% of original cost estimate, safely and with quality.

How did I fit into the work scope planning: The regular planner is a winter snowbird and would not have been available until April 1, 2015 meaning that the planned work scope activities may have pushed into the July/August period. Now the TAR work scope completed outside the TAR plant outage schedule will be done this spring, during regular hours and everyone has the opportunity to enjoy their summer. With my being on site for 4 weeks in February/March, we were able to plan the “PRIOR’ work, organize at an efficient pace and execute with maximum quality and cost saving. Can you tell this was all done at a much reduced stress level and a very enjoyable pace. We have made the TAR stress-free and fun for all involved, along with saving the company significant time, energy and costs. 

Hiring a consultant may seem like a large investment early on in the planning process, but it is often the most efficient way of ensuring that your STO, TAR and/or other large project goes off without a hitch! John McLay brings several decades of project management experience, is an internationally acclaimed trainer and author of one of the most valuable technical manuals in the industry. With reasonable rates, and the kind of knowledge and expertise you can depend on, there is simply no better choice for supporting your company through the planning stages and all the way up to execution and debriefing.

To learn more about how you can engage John as a contractor to support you through your project, contact us today!



John McLay Attends NAIT PE Advisory Committee

Posted on March 4th, 2015

John McLay, John McLay 2013 McMaster Photo.President of JMC Consulting Ltd, attended the Northern Alberta Institute  of Technology (NAIT) POWER ENGINEERING (PE) advisory committee meeting, held  February 27, 2015 in the NAIT HP Centre.

John’s contribution to the meeting was to encourage NAIT Power Engineering program  to  maintain and grow the student simulator training exposure. There is an ongoing  discussion  between the NAIT PE department and the Alberta Boiler Safety Association   (ABSA) as to the  student curriculum value and the educational time weight that should      be allocated and  accepted.

 John’s focus of argument is from the Shutdown, Turnaround and Outage (STO) perspective:    most industrial plant operators (utility or process) are able to shut down and startup a piece of  equipment but most are not capable of shutting down or starting up a complete plant or a major  plant segment. These major startups can be several years apart as is determined by the STO  turnaround optimization frequency. Neither are industrial companies willing to have their plants  shutdown and started up for additional hands on training practice, therefore many have installed  simulator training. This leads to the students needing to be exposed to this training format before  being launched into industry as professionals.

As the criticality of the Operations Team(s) involvement in STO comes higher profile, through better understanding, their association will become more engrained in Asset Integrity Management. With the advancement of remote technologies capability, there is an opportunity for industrial companies to use Educational Training Centres as the host and maintainers of Simulator technology. This is a similar process to a student sitting in a control room, working on Power Engineering training module, using Computer Managed Learning (CML) instructional access.

With the advancement of Asset Integrity Management, which is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of recent knowledge, and the onsite silo integration of Operations, Maintenance, Reliability Engineering, Turnaround Management and Integrity (Inspection), industries around the world will come to rely on Simulator development companies and host Educational Centres to assist them being competitive in the global market place with constant economical education of their employees.

Mr. McLay, as a representative of the Alberta IPE also encouraged the students to participate in the local Institute of Power Engineering (IPE) – Edmonton Chapter as it provides industrial plant tour and professional networking opportunities.

The NAIT Power Engineering staff are an exciting and pleasant group who provided an awesome lunch, created and served by the NAIT culinary student team. NAIT was also very pleased by the turnout of industry and the general cross sectional face of this yearly NAIT Power Engineering Advisor Committee Meeting. Following the meeting, guests were invited to tour the power lab as a way to end an enjoyable and informative day. My understanding is the after lunch Power Lab tour was a great way to end an enjoyable day.

To learn more about John McLay or to inquire about engaging for speaking opportunities or upcoming presentations, please contact us directly or visit our events page.

John McLay presents at 19th Annual IPEIA Conference

Posted on March 3rd, 2015

John McLay 2013 McMaster Photo.

John McLay, President of JMC Consulting Ltd., attended and presented at the prestigious 19th Annual International Pressure Equipment Integrity Association (IPEIA) Conference. The event was held at the Banff Centre, located in the beautiful rocky mountain parks town of Banff, Alberta, Canada and is world renowned for its scenic setting, culinary expertise, and world class staff . With 60 exhibitors, approximately 400 delegates, workshops and three streams of presentations this week long event was very busy and very well organized by Conference Administrator, Kelly Jaskow.

John shared booth number 44, with PanGlobal Training Systems, as the representative for the Institute of Power Engineers in Alberta. PanGlobal is the sole provider of Power Engineering training materials in Canada and, due to the Canadian national training program, receives recognition and sales throughout the industrialized world. Traffic was very heavy, with both Gary Codner and John McLay being kept very busy answering questions and meeting old friends and colleagues.

Mr. McLay’s 30 minute presentation was on “Quality Assurance/Quality Control Shutdown/ Turnaround Responsibilities,” which touches on two main themes.  The first theme that there  is no qualification or certification requirements to be the QA or QC leads and this is causing problems with planning and executing the inspection work scopes as well as creating the Turnover Documents at the end of the work. These T/O Documents are legal documents and are audited by various groups as part of the Contractor, Owner-User and Authorized Inspector certification programs.

The second theme centres around the amount and variety of inspection work scope that must be accounted for in the preparation and execution of the Shutdown/Turnaround. This is not well understood by persons unless they are closely involved with the Integrity area of Asset Integrity Management. Consequently the QA and QC Leads find it difficult to procure resources on a timely basis. The presentation delivery was designed for Contractors to inform their clients and QA leads to inform their supervisors of these needs which will greatly increase the efficiency of our scheduled maintenance outages and allow us to maintain our world competitiveness regardless of industry.

The IPEIA policy is that presentations are made available to persons who attend the conference. We encourage all folks to make attending this conference their yearly main event. As next year, the IPEIA will be celebrating their 20th anniversary, we suspect that it will be a quickly sold out event. The 2016 conference will be held from February 24-26, 2016, once again at the Banff Conference Centre. More more information on how to register for this event, please visit

To learn more about John McLay or to inquire about engaging for speaking opportunities or upcoming presentations, please contact us directly or visit our events page.


John McLay Presents At APEGA Edmonton

Posted on December 23rd, 2014

49 APEGA Edmonton Chapter members and guests attended John McLay’s presentation, “Engineering’s Responsability to the Plant Shutdown, Turnaround or Outage (STO)”, held at the Lakeview Inns & Suites in Fort Saskatchewa, Alberta. The response to the 2 ½ hour presentation was excellent and was followed by a robust question and answer period and a lengthy discussion afterwards by about 1/3 of the attendees.

This three part presentation reviews objectives including: the Turnaround Team’s areas of responsibility; reliability engineering historical development; integrating CAPEX or Project Engineering for an efficient STO; work transition points and worker efficiency. This was a working seminar supported by handouts and their practicum may be directly applicable upon the attendees return to work. The credit value of this presentation is 4 CPD/PDUs.


John McLay, P. Eng., R.E.T., PE (First) is the President of JMC Consulting Ltd. He is a Canadian born professional engineer, with over 40 years of heavy industrial construction and maintenance experience. He has participated in excess of 200 shutdowns, turnarounds and outages in several different capacities such as a Senior Management, Professional Engineer, First Class Power Engineer, Boilermaker Tradesman Welder as well as the QA/QC lead. John McLay is both nationally and internationally recognized having chaired nine international conferences, and it is a noted speaker, trainer and consultant.

APEGA PD Evening

To learn more about John McLay or to inquire about engaging for speaking opportunities or upcoming presentations, please contact us directly or visit our events page.


John McLay Presents at ASET- Edmonton

Posted on December 22nd, 2014

57 ASET Edmonton Chapter members and guests attend International STO expert John McLay’s presentation on September 23, 2015, at the Millwoods Golf Course Conference center. The presentation titled, “STO Transition points, worker efficiency and contractor momentum,” was well received with many questions from the floor. This presentation was primarily directed at Shutdown, Turnaround and Outage Professionals, however the information was also presented to show the impact on construction projects. The primary objective of the presentation was to identify where we lose our worker (tool) time efficiency. The second objective was the resolution, risk mitigation or risk reduction of this worker efficiency loss.

John McLay has been invited back for the Fall 2015 meeting schedule and will be presenting “Engineering’s Responsibility to the Turnaround.” The ASET Edmonton Chapter will use the same venue, however the exact date is yet to be determined. The topic has been specifically selected for the technologists of today, who are intimately involved with Proactive and Reactive Engineering for Maintenance, Projects and Scheduled major plant outages.

John McLay, P. Eng., R.E.T., PE (First) is the President of JMC Consulting Ltd. He is a Canadian born professional engineer, with over 40 years of heavy industrial construction and maintenance experience. He has participated in excess of 200 shutdowns, turnarounds and outages in several different capacities such as Senior Management, Professional Engineer, First Class Power Engineer, Boilermaker Tradesman Welder as well as the QA/QC lead. John McLay is both nationally and internationally recognized having chaired nine international conferences, and it is a noted speaker, trainer and consultant.

ASET Educational presentation


To learn more about John McLay or to inquire about engaging for speaking opportunities or upcoming presentations, please contact us directly or visit our events page.

MasterClass: Shutdowns & Turnarounds in Calgary

Posted on December 11th, 2014

In November, 2104, JMC Consulting LTD. hosted its internationally-recognized MasterClass: Shutdowns & Turnarounds to STO professionals in Calgary, Alberta. Taught by expert instructor John McLay, the MasterClass course has been heavily in demand by clients in North America, the Middle East and Asia.

Located in the Oil and Gas hotbed of Southern Alberta, Calgary is the gateway from the south to the rest of the province as well as to the United States. It is known for its immense oil and gas resources, as well as for being a rising Canadian business super-centre. Participants in the Calgary MasterClass joined us from across the province to bring the PMTP STO program back to their home plants.

All participants unanimously agreed that the course content, delivery and instruction were of an exceptionally high calibre and that every one of them would recommend this outstanding course to their colleagues!

Here are some of the glowing comments that were received:

“Excellent interaction with people in similar roles was expressed by all participants.”

“The practical application of the theory is very applicable to my present role.”

“The instructor has probably forgotten more than I know.”

“Great pace and interesting topics.”

“The objectives were well met and it was a real eye opener to see all of the information on how a turnaround works assembled in one place.”

“I was able to gain a lot of information which will be helpful in my future role and challenges.”

“John, you are a gifted speaker with lots of knowledge, education and experience. Thank you for your help John and how you customized this to address some of our issues.”

“Make this training longer even if the price goes up”

For more information on how to bring John McLay’s outstanding training seminars into your own plant or operation, contact us today! To learn more about upcoming seminars, visit our events page.

Overall Course Rating: 4.6 / 5

Instructor Rating: 5.0/ 5

Course Recommendation: 100% Yes: All participating students would recommend the course to their industry peers.

To download the course evaluation, click here.

Take a look at some wonderful photos from our event!
Calgary Class of 2014 (1)









Calgary Nov 2014 - CRC closing work shop (1)








Calgary Nov 2014 at work (1)










Calgary Class of 2014 (1)

J.McLay Presents At IPE Conference

Posted on November 26th, 2014

 On September 26, 2014, John McLay (P. Eng., R.E.T., PE (First)), President of JMC Consulting Ltd. was invited as the Friday morning key note speaker for the Ontario Chiefs Conference, an annual event sponsored by the Ontario Institute of Power Engineers (IPE) designed to attract all plant facility chiefs, maximizes the presenter forum with a dedicated sponsor time meet and great, and provides training for both groups. For this session there were legal, jurisdictional (AIA) and technical presentations. All persons indicated they would be back next year.


John McLay Presents at the IPE Ontario Chiefs Conference in September 2014.

Mr. McLay, an internationally-recognized expert in Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages, presented on the “Critical Operations Plan”, which discusses he opportunities and responsibilities the Operations group has to the overall success of a plant facility scheduled maintenance outage. In one industry towns, the success of the shutdown has a prominent effect on the company’s bottom line and can be the difference of maintain a viable operation or the plant facility being permanently shut down. In such cases if the plant facility is shutdown this impacts the community as a whole.

The event was a great success, and all presenters indicated their intention to return next year. Opportunities to meet with, and share ideas with, some of Canada’s greatest engineering minds are always a great honour and we extend our thanks to the organizers of the event.

To learn more about John McLay or to inquire about engaging for speaking opportunities or upcoming presentations, please contact us directly or visit our events page.

STO Expert Participates in ABSA Training

Posted on October 5th, 2014

John McLay 2013 McMaster Photo.

John McLay (P. Eng., R.E.T., PE (First)) is a recognized expert in STO processes and procedures and is author of the technical manual “Practical Management for Plant Turnarounds” (2nd Edition).

On September 18th and 19th, 2014, John McLay (P. Eng., R.E.T., PE (First)) internationally-recognized STO expert and President of JMC Consulting LTD., invited by the Alberta Boiler Safety Association (ABSA) to partake and vet the upcoming Pilot for the Pressure Equipment Safety Legislation Seminar. ABSA is the pressure equipment safety authority for the Canadian Province of Alberta, and is recognized across the country and worldwide as a leader in Boiler Safety processes, training and programming.

This event was a unique opportunity for industry professionals, including ABSA Authorized inspectors, recognized training institutions, and other knowledgeable experts, to sit on the other side of the table, as participants and students. We were kept engaged not only by the valuable information that was being shared but also by the practical tests that were offered at the end of each segment, leading us through the entire learning process. Participants were also asked to give feedback on the program, allowing for the sharing of best practices and of the most up to date knowledge to refine the presentation delivery.

As leaders in their industry, ABSA continues to set the highest of standards in its programming and delivery. The dedication to fully comprehensive and varied training opportunities that are currently being offered by ABSA is an ongoing testament to the dedication and commitment of this wonderful Albertan organization. JMC Consulting LTD. was grateful to be included in the process, and looks forward to more opportunities working closely with ABSA in the future. Excellent work and well done.

To learn more about John McLay or to inquire about engaging for speaking opportunities or upcoming presentations, please contact us directly or visit our events page.