Drafting is about design and detail. It’s taking a conceptual drawing and turning it into a reality. Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group Drafting Manager Mark Buddemeyer explained that the drafting department “designs and details the tanks that are sold (by creating drawings) so that they can be fabricated and erected.”
When an order comes in, the design is run to ensure that all structural, seismic, wind, performance, and customer specifications are met. Calculations are produced to use for the design and detailing. Drafters must make sure that the tank is designed so that it can be fabricated in our shop and then erected without problems. The drawings the drafting team produces are then submitted to the customer for approval. A tank may undergo several rounds of revisions before it is released to the shop for fabrication. The drawings also are used by the field crews to erect the tanks.
Mark Buddemeyer has been with Pittsburg for 13 years. He has 41 years of experience in the drafting field – having started as an 18-year-old. As the drafting manager, he’s responsible for making sure that
all tanks meet the specified design criteria. Each tank is custom designed specifically for the customer. Mark runs the tank designs and calculations and sends them to the draftsmen.
Aside from providing technical assistance to his team, he checks their drawings to make sure they are correct. He also works with the engineers to solve design problems, answers field crew questions as needed, runs designs for bids, and programs and nests the parts for the burn table.
One of his most memorable projects was for a pair of power plants. The fuel oil tanks could each hold 6.3 million gallons and had double walls for containment in case of oil spills. That particular project also called for a 3.6 million demineralized water tank and a 1.6 million fire protection tank.
“The water tanks had to be designed with “self-supported” roofs (no support columns), and any structure had to be external to the roof,” he recalled. “The second site had three similar tanks, and both jobs were being designed and built at the same time. There were certainly design challenges, and the sheer magnitude of the amount of steel was incredible.”
Mark said he enjoys the wide variety of tank projects he sees working at Pittsburg, along with the challenges that come with more difficult projects.
“I enjoy seeing the jobs go from an order to the finished product,” he said. “I’ve worked here for 13 years, and I still see new things. There is always something new to learn.”
Like many at PTTG, the drafting department was asked to work remotely in March 2020 as pandemic lockdowns began. The drafters thrived at home, so much, it was decided they would continue to work remotely indefinitely.
“None of us were sure exactly how it would work out,” Mark said. “While there are some things that are more difficult while working remotely, I also discovered that there were fewer interruptions from people stopping by to chat. While I do miss that, it does allow us to stay more focused on work. While some businesses struggled, our sales increased significantly in 2020. We were able to manage the increased workload with the same number of draftsmen. We send lots of e-mails and are on the phone with each other more, but we have learned to adapt while working remotely.”
Draftsman Darren Wharton has worked at PTTG for nine years. He attended Ivy Community Technical College Southwest. He holds an Associate of Arts and Science in Drafting Design/CADD/CAD.
His job is to provide detailed technical documents for fabricating and constructing ground storage, elevated, thermal energy, and steel pressure vessels. That includes tanks for municipal, industrial, and military facilities. Maintaining adherence to building code, standards for (API 650, 620, 653, and AWWA D100) and client specifications.
He loves the family environment at Pittsburg.
“I like working for an organization with a leader that has strong values and treats his employees like family – something that is difficult to find in companies today,” said Darren.
One of his most memorable projects was the collaboration between Pittsburg and Allstate Tower to design a remembrance bridge for late PTTG owner Don Johnston. The bridge is in Audubon Park.
Drafter Michael Siddon has been with Pittsburg since December 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in history and an associate degree in computer-aided design.
Michael describes drafting as creating drawings of the tanks that customers require, based on their specifications. His responsibilities include working closely with project managers, engineers, and his fellow drafters to ensure a quality product is produced. He also reviews drawings for completeness and accuracy.
“I enjoy working at Pittsburg because of the friendly atmosphere from both management and the other employees,” said Michael. “I also like the unique challenge that each tank we produce gives me.”
Draftsman Seth Tucker has been with PTTG since January 2019. He is 15 credit hours shy of a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering Technology from Murray State University.
“Drafting is the key link between the sale of the product and the shop, which produces the product,” said Mechanical/Structural Engineer Matt Fegenbush. “The language of engineering is the sketch, and drafting provides that flawlessly.”
Matt, who lives in Louisville, has worked remotely since he joined the company. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Iowa in 2002. He has additional studies in Civil Engineering from the University of North Dakota in 2014.
He has been with PTTG for nearly six years, having started at Allstate Tower in July 2015.
“Rarely does one have a situation where they enjoy both the people they work with and the people they work for,” said Matt. “I feel blessed to have both at PTTG.”
Matt is responsible for all designs that pass through PTTG’s engineering department, whether they go through an outside engineer or not. One of his most memorable projects was working on cryogenic tanks. He said it was a “very challenging project with a very savvy client that pushed me out of my comfort zone at times, but that is how we continue to grow.”
Engineer Blake Shelton began working at Pittsburg in January 2018 after graduating from Purdue University – Ft. Wayne with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He previously worked for Henderson Municipal Gas and the City of Henderson as an engineering intern.