Bill Bannister

Bill Bannister

Bill Bannister

Valparaiso
Bachelor’s Degree in OLS

Recent Purdue University North Central graduate Bill Bannister, of Valparaiso, had been out of school for a few years before he decided it was time to return to earn his degree.

Being married with a family and working full time as an operator qualification project manager for BP US Pipelines & Logistics, he seemed to have his hands full. “But not finishing college with my biggest regret,” he admitted. So, he knew the time was right to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision.

“Earning my degree brings a sense of accomplishment,” said Bannister.

As a student, Bannister excelled in the classroom. His instructors recognized his talents and encouraged him.

“I worked with Sarah Sanders Smith, assistant professor of Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership and Supervision, on multiple research projects related to safety risks and safety programs and she convinced me to enter a research contest among the Purdue campuses. I didn’t want to spend the time doing it, but it was important to her. . . We took first place in our category,” he said.

Ultimately, that research data was published in an article in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) publication, “World Focus.”

Smith and Bannister also presented their findings to the local ASSE chapter and to central Indiana safety professionals.

He also worked on a project that allowed companies to compare their safety programs with peer programs to determine how their program could be improved. Those findings were presented to 3,000 professionals, and they were published as well.

Bannister has plenty of work experience to draw from. He’s worked in the oil industry for more than 23 plus years. He was instrumental in building BP’s first fully functional training center. “It is a location where we can teach, train and qualify our technical workforce on the equipment needed to pump crude oil and
all associated products across the US in underground pipelines,” he explained.

He also has vast experience in developing, evaluating and maintaining the company’s operator qualification.

In the future, Bannister plans to continue his career and hopes take on more responsibility, possibly traveling overseas.

“I always thought that would be interesting. You see and learn a little more about the world by immersing yourself in different cultures” he reasoned.

As he looked back on his time at PNC, Bannister said that he would recommend PNC to anyone considering a college education.

“Many of the professors came from the business world, so they bring the practical aspects along with the theory behind the curriculum,” he said. “Plus I ask people to consider this: Let’s say I was to hand you $750,000. Would you throw it in a trash can and set it on fire? My guess is that people would say no. Over the life time of a person’s career, that is probably the minimum they will lose by not attending college. Not attending college is the equivalent of setting nearly $1 million on fire. Do the math, $20,000 a year difference in salary over 30 years is already $600,000. Add in the difference to 401K contributions or pension
differences, you are already over the 750,000 mark. Your education is certainly worth it.”

Bannister credits the support he’s received from his family with making it possible for him to pursue his education.

“I have been blessed with a wonderful family, very understanding family, I am lucky.”

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