By Beverly Molnar
Matthew Whiteman, one of the lead NDT instructors at TKS, teaches a training course for ultrasonic phased array inspection certification.
State College-based TechKnowServ is a global leader in nondestructive testing that provides R&D for industries like railroad, petrochemical, defense and aerospace. It got its start when Tom Hay received his Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from Penn State, and he and his wife, Elizabeth, herself a serial entrepreneur and small business consultant, decided to stay in Happy Valley.
The couple said that the availability of desirable job opportunities and, eventually, seed funding to start a small tech-focused R&D startup are what ultimately helped seal the deal — not only to stay in Happy Valley, but to start TechKnowServ.
“There are so many resources here, from Ben Franklin Technology Partners to those offered by the university,” Elizabeth said. “It’s a great place to start and grow a business.”
So what exactly does TechKnowServ do?
“TechKnowServ stands for Technology, Knowledge and Service,” said Elizabeth. “These are the pillars that we built our business on. We want to be using the latest technology and the most knowledgeable staff, and to be known for our customer service. One of our biggest competitive advantages is our customer satisfaction, thanks to our quick and accurate service and reporting.”
Those customers include agencies and companies in a diverse range of industries with needs for NDT — techniques for scientific/technological analysis to evaluate the properties of a material, component or system without causing damage or permanently altering the article being inspected. NDT methods are routinely applied in industrial settings where failure of a component would cause significant hazard or economic loss, such as transportation, pressure vessels, building structures, piping and hoisting equipment.
TKS offers NDT services and products to organizations in the marine, railroad, petrochemical, oil and natural gas, defense, aerospace and power generation industries. Services include acoustic emission testing, phased array ultrasonic testing, guided wave ultrasonic testing and magnetic flux leakage. With its internationally recognized expertise, TKS can also provide technical consulting, quality assurance/control audits, expert witness testimony and similar support services. It additionally boasts a robust supply of highly qualified personnel who can help to fill temporary staffing needs during heavy workload periods.
TKS also offers regularly scheduled training classes for clients who want to become certified as field inspectors. Instructors have real field experience, which means clients get both the theoretical and practical training they need. The company recently partnered with Olympus NDT Inc., a leader in scientific test, measurement and inspection solutions, with a presence in State College, as a training partner.
Training is provided at TKS’s State College facility, but trainers will also travel to client locations for inspection training and support. Currently, the company serves more than 400 client agencies and firms throughout the United States and internationally, including in Argentina, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey.
“Most of our staff are young engineers who like to travel,” Elizabeth said. “We regularly post position openings on our website and invite qualified engineers and inspectors who are looking for a great opportunity to see what we have to offer.”
For more information on TKS and the products and services it offers, visit: https://www.techknowserv.com