Vallourec Star invites students to STAR Camp

On January 6, Vallourec Star will be holding its annual STAR Camp for Youngstown State University engineering students at their 300-acre Youngstown manufacturing site.
Vallourec Star is a North American manufacturer that specializes in the production of seamless pipes used in the oil and gas markets across the United States.
Vallourec Star, previously titled V&M Star, arrived in the Valley back in 2002 after the company acquired North Star Steel. Since then, the company has expanded into a crucial manufacturer in Youngstown, recently investing one billion dollars to build a seamless pipe mill for rolling and finishing pipes. Today the company employs over 750 people in the Valley, and has hired YSU students in all sectors of the company.
“Vallourec Star is part of Vallourec Group – which is French owned – and Vallourec Group does have other companies in the U.S. and North America,” Jeanie Gaetano, manager of communications, said. “Vallourec Star has operations in Youngstown where we make the pipes, and then we have the facility in Houston, Texas and a facility in Muskogee, Oklahoma where we do further processing, finishing and treating of
the pipes.”
Vallourec began the STAR Camp in 2011 for University of El Passo students in Texas, but the manufacturer expanded the invitation to YSU students in 2012.
“It is an intensive two or three day session where they learn about the company, they learn about the process,” Gaetano said. “They have tours of the steel making process and the pipe making processes and meet and talk with the engineers, supervisors and managers that are actually involved in these functions.”
The STAR Camp is selective, with only five out of 18 people accepted into the program last year. Students must have at least a 2.5 GPA — or a recommendation from a professor — to apply. The program allows students to engage with an industry giant and gain practical experience in the field many of the students will soon enter into.
“It is meant to broaden their scope to see what we have to offer,” Gaetano said. “One of the key degrees for pursuing the side of what we do is metallurgical engineering, so that is a real strong component of it. And then it is also a useful tool for identifying potential candidates [for positions at Vallourec Star].”
The STAR Camp is not the extent of the YSU and Vallourec Star relationship. Michael Hripko, the director of research and technology-based economic development at YSU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, said that Vallourec Star and YSU have worked in tandem ever since their arrival in the area.
“It is typical of many of our great industry relationships — good communication, always looking for opportunities for our students, and making ourselves available to assist the companies as we can,” Hripko said.
The two have participated in co-ops together, and YSU has thrown their support behind their employee scholarship program. Betty Licata, Dean of the Williamson College of Business, and Martin Abraham, Dean of the College of STEM, meet with representatives from Vallourec Star throughout the year to discuss further ventures.
Licata said they meet every few months to review programs running through the colleges and to discuss ways Vallourec Star can be involved in them. She said they also discuss projects at Vallourec Star with which the company would like YSU’s involvement.
“We have been talking over the last couple of years about a way for us to engage with them in the area of international business, because they are a French-owned company. We are exploring some ways in which we might bring some of their international employees over to YSU to meet with some of our students to focus on some of the cross-cultural issues of the workplace,” Licata said.
Individuals from Vallourec Star have served on the STEM advisory counsel and a Vallourec Star representative has been identified to serve on the business advisory counsel. Licata said that despite Vallourec Star’s busy schedule, the company has expressed a willingness to have people visit the colleges as guest speakers.
University professors have also worked in juncture with Vallourec Star.
“We have actually had Dr. Jeffrey Dick from the geology department speak at the STAR Camp last year — he talked about shale formation,” Gaetano said. “And then Dr. Martin Cala, an engineering professor, has participated in evaluations of what we call ‘continuous improvement teams.’”
The deadline for applications for the STAR Camp program is November 1.