In Memoriam 1930-2016
Course Developer

Retired more than 200 capital projects using Tillman’s methods have come on stream ahead of schedule and below budget.



Process Technical Services proudly sponsors Professional Seminars International (PSI). Individuals from a wide range of industries worldwide have attended PSI seminars since 1975. The Process Plant Start-Up Seminars was developed and has been presented for 40 years. William H. Tillman, whose career includes leadership roles in 17 start-ups, participated in 7 start-ups over a 21-year period with DuPont in maintenance and operations managerial roles. His career with DuPont included a four-year loan assignment in Canada as General Project Manager and Executive Team Member for Petrosar, Ltd., Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Mr. Tillman’s project methods for coordination and start-up systems are recognized as exemplary worldwide.

In 2004 Jerry McAfee and Bill Tillman collaboratively reviewed and refined the message and methodology of the PPSU seminar. Jerry McAfee became the course director after Tillman’s retirement in 2005 and has continued to enhance and update the seminar and present it worldwide.

index_61-12JERRY L. McAFEE
Course Director

Mr. McAfee holds a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering and is a member of the Project Management Institute



Mr. McAfee began presenting seminars after 35 years in chemical manufacturing and project experience. He worked 32 years for DuPont in technology, business, manufacturing and project managerial positions. He participated in 8 projects with responsibilities ranging from shift engineer to Project Manager.

His Project Management assignments included responsibility for the Design, Construction, Start-up, and ongoing operation of the world’s first HFC-134a (“FREON” replacement commercial facility, a second larger plant using alternative technology, and a “Terathane” plant.

In 1989 he attended Bill Tillman’s Process Plant Start-up Seminar and subsequently enrolled each of his project teams in the seminars. All three projects were completed and started up under cost, ahead of schedule, and with exceptional start-up results with two receiving corporate awards.

McAfee is a disciple of Tillman’s process start-up philosophy and methodology and his common sense implementation of modern management concepts.

The Worlds Leading Seminars for Process Plant Start-Up!

Printable Brochure

Preparation for Initial Start-up
What To Do, When, By Whom

Detailed Planning for Training & Commissioning
Early Start & Quality Execution

Staffing Numbers & Schedules
From Project Authorization Through On-Stream

Contractor-Owner Cooperation
Fast-Tracking At Reduced Cost

People Side of Project Start-Up
Reducing Stress, Fatigue, & Work Hours

 Seminar Dates

Houston, TX
$1,395 USD
September 19 – 21, 2017
February 20 – 22, 2018
May 8 – 10, 2018
September 18 – 20, 2018

More than 200 capital projects using Bill Tillman’s project coordination & start-up systems have come on stream ahead of schedule & below budget.

Process Plant Start-Up Topics


50 years of change in project / start-up execution and lessons learned

Typical Start-up Problems

Selective discussions of 50 sources

Minimizing Equipment Problems

How to direct equipment problem avoidance actions from beginning of engineering through on-stream operation.

Start-up Planning

All aspects of preparing for operations are included: what to do, when, how, by whom, etc. with special emphasis on training and commissioning.

Start-up Personnel

Comparison of permanent staff numbers vs. start-up needs; staffing alternatives including shift schedule variations; obtaining “extra” short-term personnel.

Start-up Management

Merits of the two dominant project / start-up management systems; most successful start-up organization; initiating concepts focused on continuous improvement of operating organizations.

Start-up Morale

Example of severe consequences of low morale; leadership influence on morale.

Start-up Cost Prediction

Using historical factors to estimate start-up cost and to highlight avoidable high-cost circumstances.

Commissioning – The Heart of Start-up

Multi-team approach to mesh commissioning and construction turnover schedules; commissioning responsibility options; specific commissioning activities.

Construction Quality / Productivity Assurance

Operations role in QPA; contractor/owner coordination; examples of safety improvement and cost reductions resulting from owner’s QPA efforts.

Start-up Safety

Major concerns about safety during initial operation and stabilization; preparing for emergencies; special training for start-up.

Human Relations during Projects / Start-up Assignments

Discussion about temporarily modifying HR policies and union contracts for project / start-up circumstances; avoiding excessive work hours and family problems.

Comments from Past Seminar Participants

“An absolute must for all major project teams.” 

– Steve Alwart, Hoechst Celanese


“The most interesting, informative, and useful seminar I have ever attended.” 

– James Martin, General Mills


“Insightful review of start-up management. Should be a pre-requisite for anyone embarking on a key role in a chemical plant start-up.” 

– Ram Sriram, AKZO Nobel


“This should be a required starting point for all projects.” 

– Donald Gill, Du Pont


“If the procedures outlined in this course were used from a project’s beginning, I don’t believe a start-up could go wrong.” 

– Steve Bray, Union Carbide


“Tillman’s course provides a logical step-by-step method for organizing and starting up a process unit. It is the best ‘how-to’ course I’ve participated in.” 

– Mark Hochwalt, Monsanto


“Tillman is worth every penny. He has the freedom to speak the truth.”

– Martha Ramirez, Lyondell-Citgo


“This course is very useful and practical for people involved in projects in other countries such as Venezuela.” 

– Gustavo Leal, Petroquimica de Venezuela


“This seminar should be required by all companies that are involved in major projects, the owner, engineering, and builder of these projects.” 

– Gregory Harris, Exxon Chemical


“Fulfilled all my expectations.” 

– A.G. Frasier, Weyerhaeuser


“A must for any serious Project Task Force.” 

– T.O. Okikiolu, Mobil Producing Nigeria


“A fast moving, factual and practical course that should be attended by all members of the project or unit turnaround teams to optimize start-up time and minimize cost.” 

– Jerry Usry, Amoco Polymers

Enrollment Information


Seminar Fee – Process Plant Start-Up
Houston, Texas – $1,395.00
Calgary, Alberta, Canada – $1,795.00

The fee for the Seminar includes course tuition, seminar materials, continental breakfasts, refreshments, and lunch each day.

Once the registration form is received in our office by mail, fax, e-mail, or by telephone, a letter of confirmation will be mailed. Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-paid basis. Early registration is encouraged due to limited seating capacity.

Information concerning hotel accommodations will be provided at the time of registration. To receive a Seminar group room rate, reservations should be made directly with the hotel identifying yourself as a registrant of the Process Technical Services Process Plant Start-Up Seminar. Hotel rooms are limited and subject to availability.



Substitutes from the same company may attend in place of a confirmed registrant. A registrant may transfer without penalty to the next scheduled class two weeks prior to the seminar date.



Cancellations made prior to two weeks of the seminar date are subject to a $150 processing fee.

Cancellations made within two weeks of the seminar date are subject to a $300 processing fee.



Those who do not provide prior cancellation notice, will be subject to one-half the seminar fee.