Pete Brown has always felt he belongs in classroom, whether at a school teaching students or at a company training employees.
Brown came to OSU Institute of Technology’s Natural Gas Compression program seven years ago after working in the industry more than 30 years including as a trainer at Warren Caterpillar.
“I’ve been teaching for quite a while. I was their natural gas engine qualified instructor with Caterpillar,” he said. “I even used to substitute teach when I was in my 20s.”
That passion for teaching is why Brown was selected as a 2016 recipient of the Regents Distinguished Teaching Award by the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents.
“I like the interaction with the students, teaching them things it has taken me my whole life to learn,” he said. “I like to teach with passion, and I get excited about it.”
And although he was no stranger to training people on natural gas engines, the change to higher education from the industry was an adjustment.
“I was actually teaching out of my comfort zone. I’ve grown a lot since I’ve been here. I’ve been going to school, and I’ve had a lot of professional development,” he said. “Most of the instructors in this program I’ve had as students.”
Dr. Scott Newman, vice president of Academic Affairs, said he was delighted to hear Brown had been selected as this year’s recipient.
“The industry experience that Pete has brought to the Natural Gas Compression program is invaluable, and his impacts on the program and the sector it serves has been significant,” Newman said. “OSUIT has many outstanding faculty, and the Regents Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes the best of the best.”
Brown said he was surprised and humbled to learn he had even been nominated.
“I’m so busy, I never thought much about awards. It feels good. You don’t teach for that, but it’s nice to be recognized. There are a lot of other teachers who deserve it as much or more than I do,” he said. “I just do my job every day. I don’t feel like I’ve earned it. It makes me want to earn it now.”
Brown said the program has grown and evolved since he started teaching at OSUIT, including the construction of a new building specifically for that program— the Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center— and the establishment of the School of Energy Technologies that includes the Natural Gas Compression program.
“We’re further down the road than we were seven years ago with support from industry partners and equipment donations,” he said. “It’s a coveted degree to have from OSUIT.”
Right now, Brown is working toward his own degree, a doctorate of education from Concordia University.
“Teaching at a university is a lifelong dream. I’ve always loved school,” he said. “It’s the perfect job for me— it never gets old, it never gets boring. I’m really living the dream.”