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Employee-Owner Spotlight: Wesley Soape, ASNT NDT Level III, La Porte, TX

Wesley Soape

We recently met with Wesley Soape, Level III NDE Technician out of our La Porte, Texas office to discuss his role in industrial radiography and how he started his path in computed radiography.

What is your role at Braun Intertec?
I am, officially, a nondestructive examination field technician, but unofficially, I handle Computed Radiography compliance for the Gulf Coast of Texas. Someday I would like to help build a nondestructive testing lab in the La Porte, Texas area. Houston is a great market and our NDT team here is in the process of obtaining the certifications required by the clientele in this area.

How did you start on your NDT career path?
My career started because both of my brothers had been working in the nondestructive testing industry, so it caught my eye. I thought I would give NDT a year or two to see if it was a good fit. I ended up liking it and now I’ve been working in NDT for 14 years!

A few early career highlights included working with new fabrication, manufactured products, and casting. From there, I have worked my way into being a level-III technician at Braun Intertec.

What are some of your favorite NDT projects you’ve gotten to work on?
I’ve enjoyed a lot of different projects. My favorite kind of projects though are the subsea NDT projects. I worked on hydraulic lines on several subsea manifolds.

I worked on a set of projects a few years ago where I worked on lens rings  which are detectors, but I had to come up with a new way to adapt radiography to those rings, expose the parts, really. That took me a little time but now clients still use that process as a standard way of inspecting them. 

What can you tell us about your NDT work in industrial radiography?
I’ve had pretty broad experience in industrial radiography, from tiny electronic components to massive parts which had to be assembled and inspected on-site because we couldn’t move them.

About 10 years ago, I was working with a different NDT firm and they told to go out to a site and start working with a new technology—computed radiography. At the time, I had zero training and zero experience. That project led to more classroom training and different digital technologies. Over the last six to eight years, I’ve become known as the digital radiography guy in La Porte.

How do you work with computerized radiography as an NDE technician at Braun Intertec?
I actually get to build our own program here in La Porte. It has been really rewarding to start a program from scratch. Our Minneapolis area office has been implementing CR in wall-thickness measurements and information-only exposures. We are here, in Texas, building our weld-quality inspection program centered around new technologies. A lot of NDT companies are doing the same at the moment, but I feel that our thorough nature and experience will push us to the top of the market. Braun Intertec has given me the freedom to do what I need to make our program work and make it successful with standardized compliance at the forefront.

How does safety factor into your day-to-day work?
Safety is always the first thing on my mind. Any time I’m on a site, I first check for safety hazards. I also make sure everyone feels comfortable. Another important part of safety is make sure equipment is all there and that everything is calibrated. As a Braun Intertec employee, safety is the first thing you think about, and the last box you check before finishing your day.