PIPING DESIGN, UTILITIES ENGINEERING AND OIL REFINERY PROJECTS WITH HENKELS & MCCOYHenkels and McCoy of Blue Bell Pennsylvania was primarily a utilities contractor. When I worked for them they had considerable in-house design capability. I worked in a design shop that Henkels maintained at a large oil refinery in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania owned by British Petroleum. At first I did various steel design projects but I was promoted to shop supervisor after being there for about six months.
We did piping design, miscellaneous steel, civil and architectural design, process and system layout and whatever they needed that their own engineers wanted to farm out. The biggest job I handled was replacement of a large heater that warmed up the crude oil before it went into the “Cat Cracker”, which was the main unit on the refinery. The sixty foot high heater had been improperly started and exploded, showering the adjacent neighborhood with fire brick. By working sixteen hours a day and more we were able to design, fabricate and erect a new one in six weeks.
The Corinthos - Five years before I worked at the refinery a maritime accident at the dock there led to the worst fire ever in the Philadelphia area. I saw it and the story of that night is here.
Pipeline SurveyDuring my second winter at the refinery the union went on strike and although the BP engineers stayed inside to run the units the Henkels and McCoy designers weren’t locked in. Instead, I went to West Virginia to survey a gas pipeline.
I was not in good physical condition when we started the job and I couldn’t even finish the first day because of leg cramps. I made it through the second though and by the time we had finished the route that went over six mountains and around farms like the one in the picture whose owners, we were told, would fire on us if we were found on their land, my legs were as strong as they’d ever been.