A&M-Kingsville Distinguished Alumnus Allen Tarbutton Receives Prestigious Hanlon Award for Service to Gas Industry
KINGSVILLE - May 02, 2008
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Allen J. Tarbutton Jr., a 2007 Texas A&M University-Kingsville Distinguished Alumnus, was honored with the Gas Processors Association (GPA) Hanlon Award.
The award is known as the highest honor of the gas processing industry, and one of the top ranking awards of the petroleum industry. Initiated in 1937 by gas processing pioneer Ed Hanlon, the award recognizes an individual whose career includes prominent achievements and outstanding contributions to the gas processing industry.
According to the GPA, the Hanlon Award is conferred only when deemed appropriate by the GPA Awards Committee and then presented during the annual convention. This year’s convention was March 2-5 in Grapevine, Texas.
“The Hanlon Award is very meaningful to me,” said Tarbutton. “I spent my entire career in the midstream industry, so to receive the Hanlon is really a humbling, pleasing experience.”
The midstream industry is the part of the petroleum industry that processes, stores, markets and transports commodities such as crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids and sulfur.
Tarbutton began his career in the natural gas industry with Tenneco Oil Co. in Agua Dulce and moved up to chief plant engineer for the company in Houston. He later went to work for Mitchell Energy and Development Corp. in The Woodlands, where he stayed for nearly 30 years. He retired as president of Mitchell Gas Services L.P. in 2002.
He was one of the first engineers to use a simulation program to model and optimize plant operations while with Tenneco. While there, he also helped design and construct one of the first molecular sieve treating plants in LaPorte, Texas. A molecular sieve treating plant purifies gas streams at the molecular level.
As chairman of the joint American Petroleum Institute (API) and GPA Task Group on Gas Plant Operations, he helped write one of the first checklists on gas plant operations. While at Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., he and fellow A&M-Kingsville Distinguished Alumnus Bruce Withers started and grew a gas processing division to over 60,000 barrels per day, equal in size to that company’s production division.
Tarbutton earned a B.S. in petroleum and natural gas engineering in 1961 at then-Texas A&I University. He studied under Dr. Frank H. Dotterweich, founder of the natural gas engineering department—the first of its kind in the nation. Dotterweich was known on campus as “Doc,” and students that studied under him were known as “Doc’s Boys.”
“Being one of ‘Doc’s Boys’ has played a big part in my career,” said Tarbutton. “Not only did we get a great education at the beginning, but we also were taught a great work ethic.
“There are so many A&I grads in the industry that it’s made for a lifelong fraternity.”
Tarbutton participated in a number of professional organizations and activities during his career, including chair of the GPA Technical Committee and as GPA president. He is a charter member of the Church at Alden Bridge and is a member of the leadership team. He also is a member of the board of directors for the Montgomery County United Way, where he previously served as pacesetters chairman, campaign chairman and chairman of the board.
At his alma mater, Tarbutton served on the board of directors for the Javelina Alumni Association from 1980 to 1987. His service included terms as second vice president, first vice president and president.
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