Leading and Proven Seminars to Improve Total Project Execution

Process Technical Services’ Process Plant Startup seminar is focused towards improving total project execution, has been in place for over thirty years and has proven to be a tool which companies use to efficiently and successfully manage capital project of all sizes. It is a full-spectrum project management seminar, which has helped thousands of capital projects streamline project execution, identify and prevent pitfalls, manage expectations, maximize resources and meet the most demanding budgetary and time targets. Our course provides 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.

The seminar provides 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, 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.

Our seminar is open to the public, and hosted three times per year in order to better fit your busy schedule. PTS also offers a private, in-house version of the course which is held at your facility, main office, etc., wherever works best for you. The in-house version can be tailored somewhat, 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.

The seminar, at a minimum, helps to answer the following questions:

How do we prepare for Initial Startup?
What needs to be done, when and by whom?

What plans need to be in place, at what phase of the project?
How do we ensure the plans become a reality?

What training needs to be developed?
Who needs to be trained, when and by whom?

How is a resource-loaded schedule developed? When does peak staffing occur?
What staffing numbers are expected during all phases of the project, initial design through on-stream?

How can construction quality be assured, while maintaining a good relationship with the contractor?
How can a project be fast-tracked, while ensuring quality and controlling cost?

What types of management styles work best during a project?
How can stress and fatigued be reduced, while ensuring the project stays on track?

 Seminar Dates

Houston, TX
$1,395 USD
February 12–14, 2019
May 14–16, 2019
September 24–26, 2019

More than a thousand capital projects have been launched utilizing content from our Process Plant Startup course. Our seminar follows practices from Bill Tillman’s acclaimed project coordination.



Process Plant Startup, Course Outline:


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.

Human 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.

What Attendees Are Saying:

“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 Startup
Houston, Texas – $1,395.00

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

Once registration is completed, 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 Startup 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.

Course Developer and Instructor:


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.


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.