[CAT® OIL & GAS] The Impact Zone: Cat Oil & Gas Training

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This is a podcast episode titled, [CAT® OIL & GAS] The Impact Zone: Cat Oil & Gas Training. The summary for this episode is: <p>No matter where in the world you are, you’re never far away from getting empowered. Caterpillar University learning centers are located on every continent and provide global reach to offer knowledge and training. Listen as Jacques Ceballos discusses his background as a Learning Operations Lead and describes the philosophy behind the Caterpillar Global Dealer Learning (GDL) center in Miami Lakes, Florida. As&nbsp;a project manager who oversees day-to-day operations for training development, Ceballos helped establish the state-of-the-art GDL center in Miami Lakes in 2014. Those who attend receive hands-on training in Cat® Marine and Oil &amp; Gas applications from highly qualified instructors.</p>
How Jacques got to working with Caterpillar
02:15 MIN
Rethinking and Retooling: Focusing on training
05:17 MIN
Tailoring training to clients and dealers, using the technology available today
03:15 MIN
How virtual reality/AI plays into the training space
02:16 MIN
A game changing experience for Jacques
03:47 MIN

Sergio Tigera: Welcome to the Cat Power Podcast, where we deliver powerful insights into the world of Caterpillar Oil& Gas, showcasing the latest in technological advancements and highlighting the stories of the industry's most dynamic leaders. I'm your host, Sergio Tigera. Now let's get ready to power up with the Cat Power Podcast. Welcome to the Cat Power Podcast. My name is Sergio, and each and every week, we're going to have a special guest from the world of CAT Oil, Marine and Gas, who are going to deliver spectacular value for you on a number of topics, whether it be related to products, leadership, or a number of other areas, and today's no exception. So, I have my special guest today is Jacques Ceballos. He's the Learning Operations Lead at the Miami Lakes Learning Center. And Jacques has 15 years with caterpillar. He was born and raised in Panama. He graduated from the California Maritime Academy. He's had 10 years in the energy and transportation learning and development space, and three and a half years leading the operations at the Miami Lakes Learning Center. So welcome Jacques.

Jacques Ceballos: Welcome. Greetings to everyone. Absolutely, it's a pleasure to be here. I'm excited to have this conversation on what Caterpillar has to offer in terms of learning and development for our energy transportation customers.

Sergio Tigera: Yeah. Absolutely. It's a fantastic subject because listen, we're all learning and learning and having a growth mindset and continuing to improve and sharpen the saw is important. We know that iron sharpens iron, right? That's the only way we get better. Exactly. But before we get into all the learning and development space and activities that cat's doing, tell me a bit about you. So you're born and raised in Panama, a place where Caterpillar has a very large footprint. Tell me a little bit about growing up, and how did you get to start working with caterpillar and you decided that this was going to be your calling. Tell me a little bit about that.

Jacques Ceballos: Yeah. So I was born and raised in the Caribbean. It's called City of Colon. For those that know it, that will be what we call C3 or foreign language in Spanish for it. But then definitely just graduated from the city aspect back in 2000. And I decided... I said to my parents say," Hey, I'm either going to do something in the water or something in the air. I don't want no land type." I don't know for some reason. No land. So every time they would we ask me," What are you going to do?"" I don't know, either water or air." But my dad said, was it swimming aspect and water you two don't get along very well. So you might go into air like, okay, whatever. Because since we have, the Panama inaudible out of the question and every time I recall, I always, I remember I was a little kid. You can go into the coast and then you would see some lights out there on the front. And we always tell my brother who tell me and say," Hey, how you can get all the way over there because I don't see no roads going there. And he would hit me on the head and say,"Those are the ships that are out." They're ships. So that's why I got into more of a, that's what I want to go into, into the water, into the ships aspect and whatnot. So the opportunity presented into a come the US, and for them, my education in maritime itself, inaudible marine aspect. So I graduated from the California Maritime Academy. But my career was actually more of a dual. So it was part of a marine and part of a mechanical engineer. So the opportunity presented to come to a... I was part of this organization called the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, SHPE. So Caterpillar is very well into-

Sergio Tigera: Yeah. SHPE.

Jacques Ceballos: Yeah. SHPE. Yeah. I was sold on that one. We did a leadership event at school. It was called a SHPE on a ship. Right? So we brought in people into it. So it was kind of like a catchy marketing for them into it. But yeah, I went into-

Sergio Tigera: Growing up in Panama, it's such a unique place to grow up being that it is the launching point for Latin America, but such an important geographic and geopolitical place with the canal. And having grown up right in the port city in Colon where you see this happening all the time, you had intimate knowledge of what it's like to see all these ships coming through and the impact that has on the economy and everything else.

Jacques Ceballos: Right. Absolutely. And then, you get a, but sometimes, as you get more exposed for you oh, I mean, ships, come on. When you come over here. It's like,"No. I have not seen a ship." And I go," Man, I can see like five within a second or something like that." Right? If you really wanted to get to it. So yeah. It's definitely, that was a blessing in disguise for me. And that's one of the aspects that we are here now. Here in Miami, right? Also, it's all about water. So it's kind of the water is following me around.

Sergio Tigera: Sure, sure. So then you move on to California. That's a big jump for you, right? Is that the first time in the US?

Jacques Ceballos: No. Actually, I did some schooling. I started actually in Massachusetts. So I went from Panama to here in Miami because that's where my parents are. Then went to Massachusetts, and it was a little of a adaptation in terms of....

Sergio Tigera: A little different in terms of weather.

Jacques Ceballos: Yeah. Weather and a language, I would say. So, I came here to sharpen also my English language and the professor that I had, he would ask me,"Where is it that you're going?"" Massachusetts."" No, I'm going to have a special session with you." Like," Why?"" The English is different." So you need to develop very good ear on that one. crosstalk.

Sergio Tigera: Where about in Massachusetts?

Jacques Ceballos: In Cape Cod. So mass maritime.

Sergio Tigera: Wow.

Jacques Ceballos: That's about crosstalk. Yeah. Thing is that in Panama, a lot of those. So you will see that in Panama, a lot of people with a graduated from the US Merchant Marine, which is King's Point in New York, or ma Maritime. So that was kind of like back then, today is they're all over the place. Those were the two more, very known academies in Panama, if you will. So, kind of anything we follow through. But from then jump, I took a train from New York all the way to California. And then I started my career in California inaudible.

Sergio Tigera: Fantastic. So then you graduated there and what were your specialties?

Jacques Ceballos: Mechanical engineer and Marine engineering.

Sergio Tigera: All right.

Jacques Ceballos: So it's two in one. Before I graduated, I had a chance to attend a conference in Chicago where I was exposed into the Caterpillar brand. But I always recall that because it was an interesting story. To me, inaudible was all about boots, right? Boots and clothes. That was my image about crosstalk.

Sergio Tigera: The clothing brand, right? Boots.

Jacques Ceballos: It was a whole clothing brand, man. What happened was that students attending all this conference, very little cash right on hand. So I was myself and two other of my peers. We saw this announcement of the specialty sessions or suite speciality. Something like this. What it was like all companies, we had like a very specific, more like personalized, private kind of sessions, but you will see the announcement, like a free food. So I say, okay, so let's start with them. crosstalk.

Sergio Tigera: Free food, you will always get the students. Absolutely.

Jacques Ceballos: So we started with PCGE. We were just eating, eating. So we got into the cat, but before we were able to get out, they closed the door almost. So we say, okay, well I guess we need to sit down and listen to this speech. But again, we didn't actually bring too much attention until we hear something about power systems and marine and solar. We're like," What? This is the caterpillar that we know?" And the rest is history. Actually, the recruiters were very fun of our background and what exactly we were doing. So would ask me, Hey, you're interesting some moving, because the location that this probably will be is in Illinois. So, do you know anything about Illinois? So I tell him, do you know anything about Panama? Exactly. So we are in the same place. So he just gave a note," Hey. Go on interview." So I was able to do an internship with cat. That's really where we started then ended up that Cat is way more than clothing, for sure.

Sergio Tigera: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's interesting because as you know, I worked for caterpillar for 14 years, and I was recruited out of Miami, which is my hometown. And funny enough, a friend of mine left my resume on the Cat table one day at a career fair. I got a call back. And again, they were saying the same thing." Hey, do you know about Peoria, Illinois?" And I'm like," Well, no, but I'm open to it." And it was a big jump for me. Absolutely. It was a big shock so I can imagine for you as well.

Jacques Ceballos: Oh yeah, no, first fall for me was the first winter. I was wearing already I remember it was September, October timeframe. I wearing glove, being in scarf. I was coming into... Because I started in the engineering development side. So they look at me, I go like," You're not from here." What? Keep that away.

Sergio Tigera: crosstalk clothes. Too many items.

Jacques Ceballos: Way until January. And like," Okay. Let me just focus in this particular month.

Sergio Tigera: Right, right.

Jacques Ceballos: But right. It was say learning experience. Before I knew it, it was all comfortable with it. October was thing ended up being used a regular long sleeve and all the layers ended up being moving further and further into the actual winter season.

Sergio Tigera: Yeah. So you ended up working in Illinois for how long?

Jacques Ceballos: About exactly nine years.

Sergio Tigera: Nine years. Okay. So you're practically a resident, right? And now-

Jacques Ceballos: It would be, yeah. So if I count a few months from my internship, then it was pretty close over 10 years.

Sergio Tigera: Wow.

Jacques Ceballos: That was a journey that only supposedly last... It was only supposed to last three years.

Sergio Tigera: Well, it's funny though, because I got to Peoria on September 10th, 2001. The day before 9/ 11.

Jacques Ceballos: Wow.

Sergio Tigera: And as soon as my rotation started, my first assignment was in Decatur, Illinois. And I was supposed to only be there for like six to nine months. And it ended up being almost two years. But it ended up being a blessing in disguise. It led to the opportunities and everything else. And the Midwest has such kind people and such a great culture. Aside from the cold, it was a fantastic experience. So you move on and you've been now, let's fast forward, you're in Miami now.

Jacques Ceballos: Yeah.

Sergio Tigera: And so, you're working in this space of learning and development. I know the Miami training facility is spectacular. It's probably one of the best places in terms of the quality, the cleanliness, the quality of instructors, and the location. Being in Miami, everybody from Latin America and from Europe, they all want to come down here. So, tell me a little bit more about what's going on in the center and what you're doing you.

Jacques Ceballos: Yeah. So here at the center, so we pretty much started this journey I would say back in 2014, each kind of idea where a lot of the, especially both the marine and oil and gas group they needed a place for them to actually focus training in their particular products. Right? So to your point, Miami just became a more of a destination location for international travels and local people too, as well. So there was a lot of a rethinking and retooling that I like to call it. With that came a lot of upscaling, even internal for ourself. Okay. What exactly do we want this training center to be? And one of the things that the initial team always wanted to set that vision was that we wanted to be more than just come here to just get trained. We wanted to be more of a, make an impact on somebody. So that got into what we call today is getting power, right? Getting power everywhere. Right? Yeah. Get power. It's all about, we are here to empower you. If you wanted to relate to Miami league, it's a place to get empowered. Right. Get empowered, be empowered. And that's not just for the people that visit for our learner. It's also for our own team. Right? We always get a chance to learn something new every day, because we are located in the Cat inaudible. Our Miami distribution center. Sometimes we get exposed to brand new equipment, right? So we always then," Hey, what is this equipment? And so on and so forth." So, our focus today is really to support both our marine side of the equation, and then also our oil and gas side. Some people might ask," Hey, it makes sense, Miami for marine, but they would scratch their head when it comes to oil and gas." That would be more of a use system. So the way we would be able to minimize that is exactly to what you said, right? Quality of training, our quality of people. So we have very well competent industry certified instructors to as well, so they can relate with the people that are actually coming. The facility too as well. Something that was just launched, which this year we celebrate the 36 years of the 3, 600 platform. So in 2017, we launched what we call the Larson Station. That is a full operated gas compression station. Just like people we see out on the field. Our mantra is that instead of damaging your own equipment, come and damage our equipment, right? Where Caterpillar crosstalk over here, right? Just practice here, get over here, full experience, right? Is a 36 or 684 copper to an area compressor. So you get the whole full experience of it too as well. But at the same time, on the marine side, if you are into the pressure craft side of the equation, we had the full pressure craft equipment, right? From a console, engine. I love it because one of the things, our customer, when they come on the pressure craft, they always ask," Hey, how does your engine react every time you go full ahead, and then you inaudible?" "I don't know. Come and check it out. You do it." " Are you sure?" " Yeah. Go play." And we always notice it that they don't do it. Right? They kind of hesitate.

Sergio Tigera: Yeah.

Jacques Ceballos: But we learned something from one of our now retired senior instructor. His name is Victor Garcia, and he would leave. He would go and get a cup of coffee. And all of a sudden from inaudible in the second floor, he would look down and you would see the well, like is anyone see me and boom, they junk full ahead. Boom they head back and he would come. So whatever, this is Caterpillar. I can tell this is caterpillar. So it's a good way to what we call it more of a product demo. Right?

Sergio Tigera: Right.

Jacques Ceballos: You don't believe it, just come and check it out. So we go a little bit on both end. So whether you are a marine or you are on the oil and gas side, that piece of the quality of our training assets is a very important component to provide that experience, right? To make sure that people get empowered when they set foot into our facility.

Sergio Tigera: One of the things that's going on in, in Miami right now at this point is that it is becoming a tech hub. There's a lot of companies moving down to South Florida because the mayor has has been very friendly in terms of tech forward and so forth. So this place is the learning and training center in such a great location, because Caterpillar has always been high tech. Always looking for the technical advantage to either be more productive, more fuel efficient, whatever that is. Maintenance, all that stuff. And so now, how are you taking training to that next level using tech and tailoring training to the clients and to the dealers, and using all this technology that's available today?

Jacques Ceballos: Yeah. One of the things that we're noticing is that we always say that in every challenge, there is an equal seed, right? There is a seed of equal opportunity, right? Is that with the start of our current situation today, right? Is that it can help us then elevate to," Hey, there has to be a way that we can then still empower people. There has to be one way how we can make it efficient." Right? So we know that crosstalk. Right. Right. So, people, I guess we had that notion of like, I'd rather used to touch the equipment. I'd rather is to do really a hands on, but we are seeing is that a lot of folks is if I'm able to, like I'm doing with you, I'm able to interact live with a person, there's still some added value and benefit into it. When I can just sit down here and then," Hey, sir, can you explain to me how do you do this thing?" Right. I want to do a podcast. I want to do this or I want to do that. And yeah. Okay. It will definitely will better if you and I will just sit having a cup of coffee, right?

Sergio Tigera: Sure.

Jacques Ceballos: Or eat or something like that. Right? But we can have leverage some of this. So we think what we call the cat you, or inaudible. I said, now we provide a lot of virtual instructor learning that it definitely complements very targeted, specific skills. You won't get the full experience, but we do that one. But at the same time, you talk about technology. One of the things that within both the Cat oil and gas aspect, and then the marine product groups is that whatever is the latest technology they are developing. For instance, right now, fuel efficiency, right? Our 3512e tier 4 for well rack and drilling with the DGB, the gas blending. That technology, they decided," Hey, as our customer or dealers get more exposed, let's bring that to the learning centers." So we are always at the cutting edge to whatever technology that is, right? Remote monitoring. We're also then adding all of data, all of that piece into it. One of our goals is really is, hey, whatever you are, you can tap into our equipment in the sense of less use our equipment for your own learning and development, even if we're a distance. So when you come here, what used to be more of a five days? It might them only two, three days, because all you want to do is just validate the skills that we were able to share on a more virtual Alaska. Right? So really compliments the entire journey of developing people. Right? So yes, technology, elevating our reach is definitely something that we are always evaluating just to improve.

Sergio Tigera: It's interesting because prior to COVID, people would say," Is there any reason in why we can't get together?" Right? Because everyone always gets together. We're always on planes flying to different places. I think now post COVID or in this area, now we're starting to say," Is there any reason that we need to get together?" Because we can do most of this virtually, and almost with more impact. And save costs and save time and everything, because you can do this so well. And then, like you said, when it's time to really validate that you want to put the hands on the iron, then you're ready to go.

Jacques Ceballos: So that, yep. That's what it is coming to what we like to call our learning services and solutions. See, pre COVID, to your point, most of our learners would then kind of like select and say," I want to go to Miami to have marine engine system troubleshooting course." Right? So it was course driven right. Now, the questions are asked, right? Actually right now we got a particular training for a customer on this particular DGB piece that was approved for us to do more of a face to face. Same question, how effective inaudible it is to actually go? And then, is there anything that can be done then virtually? So we then change that to say, what exactly do you want your people to learn? And then let's go is from there. Before they know it, they actually ended up with more, after we talk, they started with one product. We're now giving them the full spectrum to say," Hey, if you do this virtually, when you come here, now you can get more for the same value that you had before." So that's what, what we like to see, what we think is going to happen post COVID is more really of that. Hey, if I going to go there, let me just... I see you have a guitar right behind you, right? It's more of a," Don't give me no lecture around. I have to play that guitar. Let me just play that guitar since I arrive all the way until I finish because by the time I finish, I just want to be very competent in playing that guitar." Right? So that's kind of the analogy that I feel is going to happen.

Sergio Tigera: Yeah. And then a lot of the customers can take the lead off of what Caterpillar's doing and apply these same types of best practices to their business. Because at the end of the day, we all need to figure out to make more money and spend less and be more profitable and so forth. How is virtual reality or AI and so forth? How is that playing into the training space? Are you guys using virtual goggles or anything like that yet, and you see that coming down the pipe?

Jacques Ceballos: Definitely actually, pre COVID our overall group, which intended to Caterpillar's called Global Dealer Learning. Out in the world, we probably are better known as Caterpillar University. There are actually that technology has been tested and validated. I see that quite a lot on the safety side of the equation. We have a team in Malaga, Spain that for the machine kind of training, they actually then do all the Google things. All the virtual reality aspects. So there's quite a lot of technology out. It just so happened that March of last year, end of March of last year, right before the lockdown, I was going to go on a trip to Houston and some customers, they were all talking about applying inaudible in the oil and gas industry for learning and development. So, it was going to be more of an informal setting, a how, what is caterpillar doing and how they're doing it. But then of course, that got into a more of a stopping mode. We do feel that there is a need. The question is more of a, what are specific skills? So far, we've seen it in more on the operation side of the equation. But so far then two, at the same time you get customer to say, if I can put my hands on the asset, they might value that today more. Or I say, sorry, pre COVID more than the virtual aspect. But hey, like I said, COVID is a blessing in disguise. So I certainly can see what we are focusing more on that remote, where you can actually not just put it, but you can really adjust, tune up, start, stop, and see the performance of the engine without you coming here. So, that's I see right here and the near future.

Sergio Tigera: That's fantastic. I know that Cat's going to keep on the cutting edge like they always have, and being that guiding light for customers and other dealers and so forth as they develop their competencies. Listen, it's all about learning, learning, and development. Life is about learning. If we're not growing and we're not learning every day, we're falling behind the times. Technology is moving at rapid at pace. And if we don't keep up with it, then we're going to find ourselves behind the eight ball. Absolutely. So Jacques, one last question. So if you look back at your career and all of your experiences, was there a moment or an experience or something that you said,"Man, that was a game changer for me?" Something that really resonated with you or something that said," Okay. This is it." This is what I want to do or something to that effect.

Jacques Ceballos: Yeah. I would say that it was the opportunity to lead the Larson Station Project. Like I told you, it was probably April, years in the making, right? Because I was one time at a networking event with Caterpillar, some leaders and then some internal employee resource group. It is called the Caterpillar Latino Connection. They put together an event. And I remember back then one of the group presidents, his message was that," Hey, the best thing I will ask is if you start on something, see how you can see it all the way through." And he was giving some example on some other projects that he's seen handoff like three, five times, right? Like if you want something, just get it a start. So when the opportunity on this project presented, the one thing I asked my leader back then was," Let me just see it through." I just wanted from not just the idea, but I want see it inaudible. Right? So that journey started 2013, 2012. And it was on 2017. Now, the journey accelerator started prior to that. Right? But when I inaudible involved on 2012 and here I am. And I feel that one because that was a lot of personal growth. That was a lot of internal growth. I was able to understand how external economic challenges can affect the internal pieces, right? So navigating through all of that and never lose a bit on that one, right? Somebody asked me one time," Hey, if it's something that you might want to then to share." Well, I said," Hey, you have to believe it." If you don't believe it on what you are doing, somebody will tell you no right now. And you'll be like," Okay, I guess you are correct." So that experience to me is that what I would say that is just keeping us going. And if anyone is down, what we typically do or let's go take a walk, just look at the building. And if you are part of the building, then you know that it took years to get that building out. So that is just refreshing and motivation. Today actually, the campus just finished some... They were doing some remodeling and some construction. It is with very heartfelt that a lot of that design that we sit away, it was drafted back in 2012. Now, when we say," Hey, let's do a master plan for the work, not to see a life too." You'd be like," Oh, we know that we just added a little bit sent to the overall Caterpillar experience." So yeah, that's my story. I definitely see everyone just to, whenever you got a chance, stop by. Miami Lake Learning Center is there to empower you, whether it is virtual, whether it is on the social media platform, no matter... And not just me, you can touch any of our individuals. We got people all over. Whether they're from Peru, Venezuela, Panama, Houston, Oklahoma, Peoria.

Sergio Tigera: crosstalk.

Jacques Ceballos: Whatever area, and outside of Miami. The entire extended family of Cat inaudible is there to support everyone. It is there to definitely provide the best value for our learners.

Sergio Tigera: So Jacques, you mentioned something really important. I wanted to tell touch on before we wrap up. So on entrepreneurialism, right? So, you're acting in a sense as an entrepreneur within an organization. And having ownership and accountability over a project that you can see from the beginning to end is so empowering. Right? And so fruitful and so fulfilling, because you're actually taking a product from inception all the way through. And that's what it's about, right? It's, if you don't enjoy what you're doing every day, you need to probably start figuring out what is it that you don't like about it and find something that you do like about it. Life is too short to not be passionate about what you do. And you are obviously extremely passionate and Caterpillar is very happy to have you because of the work you do there and the impact that you leave on others that visit the facility and your team out there. So, congratulations on your success, my friend. Thank you so much for being on the Cat Power Podcast. How could people reach out to you?

Jacques Ceballos: The best, I guess way, find me LinkedIn. Jacques Ceballos. We got plenty of accounting out there. Just get in touch. That would be probably the easiest and fastest way. Yeah. Look forward to connect to everyone. And definitely it's a pleasure and honors to be part of this podcast and open up the opportunities to reach to more learners out there.

Sergio Tigera: Love it. Thanks, Jacques. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoy this episode, please follow and rate us. And be sure to share it with a friend so that you can power up their life and their career.


No matter where in the world you are, you’re never far away from getting empowered. Caterpillar University learning centers are located on every continent and provide global reach to offer knowledge and training. Listen as Jacques Ceballos discusses his background as a Learning Operations Lead and describes the philosophy behind the Caterpillar Global Dealer Learning (GDL) center in Miami Lakes, Florida. As a project manager who oversees day-to-day operations for training development, Ceballos helped establish the state-of-the-art GDL center in Miami Lakes in 2014. Those who attend receive hands-on training in Cat® Marine and Oil & Gas applications from highly qualified instructors.