A former Texas City firefighter and 26-year process operator veteran, Jonathan Leacroy will teach more classes as a full-time professor at College of the Mainland.

Leacroy has been an adjunct professor since the COM Process Technology Program’s inception in 1993. While teaching at COM, Leacroy worked as a process operator for Union Carbide, later purchased by Dow, and then BP, which became the Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery.

He often worked alongside his former students.

“I like watching all these former students gain employment in industry,” said Leacroy.

One of Leacroy’s new roles is teaching Unit Operations, the final course for process technology students during which they operate the COM glycol separation unit for 40 hours in shifts.

“That’s our capstone course. It’s 128 hours in 16 weeks,” said Jerry Duncan, COM process technology program coordinator. “It’s so hands-on. Students manage pumps and compressors and boilers.”

Leacroy’s hiring will help the COM program accommodate a record number of students.

“I'm busting at the seams,” said Duncan. “This is the biggest fall enrollment we’ve ever had.”

Enrollment increased six percent over fall 2014, the previous record for enrollment.

Students are drawn by high salaries and job opportunities. COM graduates with technical degrees earn an average of $73,509.

"Refineries are expanding, so the need for more operators is increasing,” said Leacroy.

The COM Process Technology Program trains students for many industries, including chemical, petrochemical and energy. Students learn in labs and classes with instructors with years of on-the-job experience.

COM has many partnerships with local industry to help students learn from professionals through plant tours, workshops and curriculum advisory panels.

Financial aid is available.

For more information about the COM Process Technology Program, visit www.com.edu/ptec or call 409-933-8536.