"I've definitely shared stories about travel on the pipeline and emphasized safety culture at home," he said. "I required safety glasses and earplugs when working around the house or shop. … Everyone in our family fully understands the dependency we Alaskans have on that black gold flowing through TAPS."
Bob said that working on TAPS is very rewarding. He calls his colleagues "very talented" and said he is proud of their diligence every day to ensure that the crude properties and quantities are measured accurately on TAPS. Over the years, a big bonus to the job has been traveling on TAPS.
"I have fond memories of some beautiful vistas near Pump Station 6 in the mid-1990s when the sunset painted the sky Alaska pink and orange, which was reflected off the Yukon River," he said.
Bob is excited that his son is now making his own TAPS memories. They work in the same building – CenterPoint West in Anchorage, Nate on the second floor with his fellow engineers, Bob on the third floor with Oil Movements. Their work and projects rarely overlap, but they talk often about their respective work.
"Working with my dad is very special for me – it's an experience I never thought I'd have," Nate said. "And this place has always felt like home. It's cool to be back and to be here, having an impact of something that is so central to Alaska."
Nate said he's wanted to be an engineer for as long as he can remember. His dad saw signs of his son's future career early.
"I knew he would be an engineer when he built a pneumatic potato cannon that he pressurized with his bike pump!" he said. "It's exciting to see your son grow up and make his own contributions to the operation and maintenance of TAPS. I'm proud of that kid!"
Both Carsons are eager to play their roles in driving TAPS operations into its next 40 years.
"Growing up, people talked about the pipeline and oil being on their last legs, but it's exciting for me to be here now," Nate said. "You hear about the new North Slope discoveries and look forward to what will happen in 2020 and 2021. I feel like there's a new era starting and the pipeline is about to have another growth spurt."
Bob added, "I shared a number of stories about TAPS operations with Nate over the years. More recently, I described some of the challenges we face in addressing low throughput and maintaining our 40-year-old system. He loves solving technical problems so he should have lots of opportunities here."