GV student is first to receive boiler license

Courtesy: Amanda Pitts with University Communications

Amanda Pitts

Courtesy: Amanda Pitts with University Communications

Amanda Rogers

After years of hard work, one Grand Valley State University student has accomplished a large feat – the first of its kind at GVSU. Senior Noah Barton is the first student here to earn his boiler license. Barton is currently a mechanical engineering major and has spent four years working with other engineers to help operate GVSU’s boilers.

Barton had to go through a lot of intense training to make this goal a reality. While Barton was looking for a job his freshmen year of college, his sister, a previous GVSU student, suggested applying for GVSU’s Facilities Services.

During Barton’s interview, they suggested that because he was majoring in mechanical engineering that they would have him work with the boiler engineers and train for his license.

Barton said that with his boiler license he is now able to operate the two boilers that heat all of GVSU’s campus. The license allows him to operate the boilers alone, while before he was required to have someone else in the room with him. 

To receive his boilers license, he was required to spend 2,000 hours in the plant. Once all of his hours were complete, he then was required to take an exam through the city of Grand Rapids in order to receive his certification.

To pass the exam, Barton had to be proficient in several specialized skills, which included steam system operation and maintenance, safety procedures, combustion controls and fluid system designs.

“One of the hardest things was having to remember all of the safety regulations, operating pressures and required chemicals,” Barton said.

Richard Kleis, a boiler engineer with Facilities Services, was Barton’s trainer and mentor during his whole process.

“(Barton) is a great young man and we all like him and we all appreciate what he does for us,” Kleis said. “He started off mopping floors and painting, but (getting his license) was a goal for him and a goal for us as a university as a whole.”

Kleis said that even though Barton probably will not use his license in the future as an engineer, the license still shows that he is more educated and has more experience in the field that he wants to go into. He said having this type of education and experience will go a long way for him. 

“I thought of it as a good thing to have in my back pocket, as like extra qualifications for once I graduate,” Barton said.

His current goal is to go into the design aspect of the machines that he is working with, such as boilers and chillers. After graduation in April, he said he is very interested in getting his degree to design these heating and cooling systems.

“(The license) has given me a lot of hands on experience that I didn’t have before,” Barton said. “It has increased my knowledge, as well as opened a new door for me into this field.”