Wednesday, 22 September 2021 16:18

RichmondCC Substation graduate plays important role at new Robeson LNG plant

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Kyla Dial is the electronic instrument operator technician at the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Robeson County. She is a 2020 graduate of Richmond Community College’s Electric Utility Substation & Relay Technology program. Kyla Dial is the electronic instrument operator technician at the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Robeson County. She is a 2020 graduate of Richmond Community College’s Electric Utility Substation & Relay Technology program. RichmondCC

HAMLET — Piedmont Natural Gas recently built its fourth liquefied natural gas plant in Robeson County, and Richmond Community College graduate Kyla Dial of Maxton plays a critical role in its operations.

Dial is the electronic instrument operator technician, and she monitors the pressures and the temperatures of the liquefied natural gas.

"This position is very important and crucial at the Robeson LNG plant," she said. "The plant has to be monitored 24/7."

The LNG tanks store natural gas that has been liquefied after being cooled to about minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit. The process allows natural gas to be stored in a fraction of the space. When winter temperatures take a big dip and the demand for natural gas to heat homes reaches a peak, Piedmont Natural Gas can meet the demand, helped by the LNG plants. It is a cost-effective way to meet customers’ needs on the coldest days of the year.

Dial was hired by Piedmont Natural Gas last December. On Nov. 27, 2020, the week before she started, her father, Jerry Dial, passed away. His funeral was held Dec. 1. She started her new job the very next day.

"While it was hard for me to leave my family to show up for work, I am grateful that I did because my job helped me cope with grieving. I knew my father would be proud," Dial said. “I will never forget the day I got the phone call that I had received the job and ran to share the exciting news with my dad. It was an emotional moment. You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. He said to me, ‘Man, I’ve been praying that you would get that job.’”

A first generation college student, Dial is a 2020 graduate from the Electric Utility Substation & Relay Technology program at RichmondCC. 

"I was looking for a career that was challenging and offered an opportunity for advancement," she said.

A 2017 graduate of Purnell Swett High School, Dial had been working part-time as a cashier at a local grocery store. 

"While I appreciated having a job, I realized this was not what I want to do for the rest of my life. Not only that, but I wanted to make something of myself and help provide for my family," Dial said.

Her sister, Albrina, was working as an engineering technologist at Duke Energy, and she encouraged Dial to look into the substation program at RichmondCC.

Dial knew she didn't want to go to a big university. She wanted to attend a college where students could interact one-on-one with their professors, and that is exactly what she found at RichmondCC. 

"The college, the professors and the staff welcomed me with open arms and they made me feel welcomed. The professors and staff were always ready to lend a helping hand when needed and they also encouraged their students," she said. "Richmond Community College has impacted my life in a very positive way."

Dial would eventually like to pursue a bachelor's degree. She plans to consult with RichmondCC's Career & Transfer Center to learn about transfer opportunities for graduates of the substation program. Excelsior University will allow EUSRT graduates to transfer directly into two online bachelor degree programs: Electrical Engineering Technology or Technology Management/Electrical Technology. East Carolina University will allow EUSRT graduates a seamless transfer into its Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology program. 

Dial is the only female and the youngest person working at the Robeson LNG plant. Working in a male dominated industry doesn't intimidate her, so it shouldn't be surprising that outside of work Dial enjoys such things as four-wheeling, fishing and hunting. 

Dial is thankful for where she is today. 

"I thank God and my family for their prayers and encouraging me and supporting me along the way, especially my sister, Albrina," Dial said. "She inspired me by accomplishing her goals no matter what life threw in her path and never giving up. I would also like to be an inspiration to other women who are thinking about working in this type of industry."

To learn more about the EUSRT program or other programs at RichmondCC, contact Student Services at 910-410-1700 or visit the Hamlet or Scotland County Campus to speak with a counselor. Applications are accepted year round and can be completed for free online at