Valero Receives Battle Award

Suzy Jamieson, ICML


Valero Energy Corporation, in Port Arthur, Texas, was named the second recipient of the International Council for Machinery Lubrication's John R. Battle Award for Excellence in Machinery Lubrication. ICML presented Valero with the 2006 Battle award in May, during the 2007 Lean, Reliable and Lubed Conference and Exhibition in Louisville, Kentucky. The whole lubrication team from Valero, accompanied by plant manager Jim Gillingham and retired Valero team member John Gobert were on stage for the award presentation.

Like the inaugural recipient of the Battle award - Clopay Plastics of Augusta, Kentucky, which has received worldwide attention of its program - Valero is already enjoying the recognition arising from being a Battle recipient.

Setting an Example for Success
"Returning from Louisville we've received congratulations from many people at our refinery. Our plant manager, Jim Gillingham, plans to hold up our lubrication program as an example for the other 17 sister refineries in our corporation. Hopefully this will generate new interest in lubrication and get good lubrication practices started at our other locations," said Mark Kavanaugh. Mark and Jimmy Thomson (after John Gobert's retirement) run the lubrication program for the refinery.

They both work in the rotating equipment reliability department along with Allan Thibodeaux, head operator for the refinery's crude complex. Together, the three nominated Valero Energy's Port Arthur refinery for the Battle Award by submitting an application. Jim Griffith, superintendent of maintenance and plan manager, Jim Gillingham gave their support by authorizing Port Arthur to be nominated for the award.

As its counterpart, the Gill Award recognizes excellence in the area of oil analysis, the John R. Battle Award has been developed to recognize organizations that have exhibited excellence in the application of machinery lubrication. The award, honoring Mr. Battle, was designed to motivate companies to improve machine reliability and maintenance quality through development, implementation and management of a best-in-class machinery lubrication program.

As with the Gill award, ICML's focus for the Battle award is not only to identify award recipients, but also to encourage performance of excellence and create a means to share best practices among user organizations on a global scale. In the same manner that the ICML is raising the bar in the area of skill-based certification, so it does with its awards, by recognizing role models for benchmarking and setting performance standards by the lubrication and reliability community.


What It Takes
To become a John R. Battle Award recipient, the ideal organization must demonstrate a solid lubrication program, backed by multidisciplinary efforts and approaches, with sustainable results and continued improvements. Among other factors, the John R. Battle Award criteria includes the following:

  • commitment to education and skills competencies

  • maintenance culture and management support

  • lubricant selection, lubricant performance standards and lubricant consolidation

  • preventive, predictive and proactive program design and effectiveness

  • lubrication program metrics and overall performance tracking

  • lubricant storage, handling, safety and conservation

  • lubrication PM optimization, work plan management, scheduling, documentation

  • oil analysis program design, test slates, lab selection and setting of alarms

  • oil analysis sampling frequency, sampling hardware and procedures

  • contamination exclusion and removal

  • oil and grease application methods and hardware deployed

  • continuous improvement

ICML awards are open to organizations worldwide and a company does not need to be involved with ICML in any way to receive the award. At present, there is no charge to participate in the awards process; however, in order to avoid bias ICML has chosen a policy by which it does not nominate companies. Nominations must come from the companies directly via application for the award.

Nominations Welcome
Is there an organization in industry you think should be recognized for its machinery lubrication program? If so, encourage them to apply for the Battle award. Do you think your organization meets the qualifications of being honored by ICML with such an award? The opportunity to apply for the Battle Award is available to you and your organization, and with that, comes the opportunity to be recognized by the machinery lubrication community for excellence. To apply for the Battle Award, contact

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