Leading Seminar to Improve Project Results

Learn How To:

    • Design your plant for safe, rapid, and effective Commissioning and Startup.
    • Build quality into your plant, rather than trying to inspect it in after the mistakes have been made.
    • Establish and execute a “Zero Failure” expectation for Startup!

…Taught by someone who has actually done it!


Plan For Excellence and Improve Total Project Execution.

How your project starts up and operates in its first year will impact your company more than any other project metric. Compared to average projects, the Top 10% achieve 25% less cost growth, 2-5 months faster startup, and 18% more production in the second 6 months of operation. Startup excellence begins with Design, and the Process Technical Services’ Process Plant Start-Up™ Seminar addresses each project phase, from FrontEnd Engineering through Startup.

Many companies have established processes for doing projects, but few have similar processes for preparing a team for startup. This seminar fills that void, saving capital and startup costs, providing a faster and safer startup, and building a stronger ongoing plant organization.

Key project and startup personnel will benefit from this seminar by improving an understanding of the tasks ahead, identifying major project vulnerabilities, and identifying priorities and staffing to address those vulnerabilities.

Your team will experience fewer changes and last minute surprises, and will be more confident and in control rather than constantly reacting.

What You'll Learn From This Seminar

  • Learn detailed techniques and tips, which not only simplify the process of getting projects off the ground, but also getting them completed, getting the facilities online and on-spec, on-time and under budget.
  • Learn detailed information in regards to: best practices during facility design (FEL I, II & III), project kickoff, project planning and execution, project staffing, precommissioning, commissioning, training, plant startup, and much more.
  • The seminar covers the entire life cycle of a project; no matter what stage of a project you’re in, our seminar will provide benefits to help your initiatives. The investment made in properly preparing a team for startup will be returned many times over.

Project Specific Consultation

In addition to the proven material included in the course outline, our expert team will answer any specific questions that you may have about your project during the “Project Specific Consultation” portion of the seminar. Our mission is for you to have the information and tools needed to make your projects a success, and this consultation is a time where you can ask any project related questions needed. Typical questions that we answer are related to precommissioning, commissioning, startup, staffing, construction quality, and more.

Network With Fellow Process Plant Professionals

In addition to effective content, the Process Plant Startup Seminar presents an added opportunity to share experiences and build industry contacts with project personnel from other companies. Although the seminar is virtual, it’s interactive in nature. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with other attendees and the presenter throughout the seminar. Attendees can ask questions throughout the seminar and the seminar format presents networking opportunities for attendees. The seminar encourages interaction, however attendees can participate in questions and networking as much or as little as they’d like.

Virtual Seminar Format & Benefits

The Process Plant Startup Seminar is not a typical online seminar. It’s more than simply a presentation and panel discussions. The seminar comprises of real-world, practical guidance based on project bench-marking and actual experience. It’s a comprehensive discussion of startup excellence, and of proven best practices that make excellence possible.

Attending this seminar will help you achieve a better quality design, detailed commissioning and startup plans, better coordination between groups, fewer changes and last minute surprises. At startup, your team will be more confident and in control rather than reacting. The result will be lower capital cost and a safer, faster, less costly startup. Your ongoing plant organization will be stronger and more effective.

Attendees leave the seminar with a better understanding of the tasks ahead, knowledge of Critical Success Factors, and the ability to identify project vulnerabilities and to develop strategies, priorities, and staffing to address them.

We encourage attendees to ask questions as they occur during the seminar and to actively participate. Some of the best knowledge stems from debate and exchange of ideas between participants from different industries, roles, and project experiences.

Private In-House Version Of The Seminar

Our seminar is open to the public, and hosted three times per year in order to better fit your schedule. PTS also offers a private in-house version of the course which is held at your facility or main office, etc. The in-house version can be tailored, so that it spends less time in areas which may not apply, and more time in areas of greater need, and/or concern to your organization. A shortened, executive version of the course is also available, also in-house, which is much more high level than the normal course, and typically completes in 6 to 8 hours. To schedule a private in-house seminar, please contact us.

Seminar Information

COST: $997

SEPTEMBER 17–19, 2024

Process Technical Services’ Process Plant Start-Up™ Seminar has helped hundreds of projects achieve exceptional results. The seminar promotes practices from Bill Tillman’s and Jerry McAfee’s acclaimed project leadership.

Contact Judy Jeffcoat with any questions for registration at 409.833.3990 or

Process Plant Start-Up Seminar, Course Outline:

In addition to the below outline, there will be a “Project Specific Consultation” during the seminar, as noted above.
Our expert team will answer any specific questions related to your project during this time.


50 years of change in project/startup execution and lessons learned.

Typical Startup Problems

Selective discussions of 50 sources.

Minimizing Equipment Problems

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

Startup Planning

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

Startup Personnel

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

Startup Management

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

Startup Morale

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

Startup Cost Prediction

Using historical factors to estimate startup costs and to highlight avoidable high-cost circumstances.

Commissioning – The Heart of Startup

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.

Startup Safety

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

Employee Relations during Projects/Startup Assignments

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

Course Instructor and Developer:

Jerry McAfee, Course Director & Instructor

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, Startup, 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 Startup 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 startup results with two receiving corporate awards.

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

William Tillman, Course Developer

William H. Tillman, Course Developer

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 Startup Seminars was developed and has been presented for 40 years. William H. Tillman, whose career includes leadership roles in 17 startups, participated in 7 startups 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 startup 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.

What Attendees Are Saying:

“Best seminar I have been to, wish I have done this 20 years ago.”
– L. Hanson – Site Manager, Orion Engineered Carbons LLC

“I wish I could have attended this training earlier in my career.”
-B. Brawner – DCS Lead, WR Grace

“If I am able to implement 10% of the tools provided by this seminar, my project will benefit tremendously!”
-K. Tompras – Project Manager, Afton Chemical

“Very informative, wish I had this info earlier!”
-T. Yaws – Senior Operator, Y-Grade Pipeline – EPIC Midstream

“The implementation of the content of this course is essential to ensure a successful start up.”
– Maintenance Manager, Albian Sands Energy Inc.

Read More Testimonials

“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

Give Your Project a Strong Foundation For Success.

Register to Attend Now.

Seminar Fee – $997
Location – Virtual
Dates/Time – September 17-19, 2024, from 8:00AM-2:30PM CT

Process Technical Services’ Process Plant Start-Up™ Seminar fee covers all material needed, including an extensive course
instructional guidebook (200+ pages, hard copy), that could be referenced for years to come.

  • Click the button below to register. Once registration is completed, you’ll be sent a confirmation email.
  • Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-paid basis. Early registration is encouraged due to limited capacity and demand.
  • Pre-registration for future seminars is also offered. If pre-registering, please specify the seminar date that you’d like to attend.

For additional information, please contact Judy Jeffcoat at 409.833.3990 or


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