Inspectioneering
Inspectioneering Journal

Remembering Tyler Alvarado

Stories, Anecdotes, and Memories from Around the Industry

This article appears in the November/December 2020 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
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Tyler Alvarado

The industry lost one of the good ones this year.

A few months ago, Tyler Alvarado, President of Inspectioneering, suddenly and tragically passed away. At just 36 years old, he had already established himself as a massively influential force within our industry. His vision for the future of mechanical integrity was progressive and optimistic and he had more ideas than time to implement them.

Tyler was known for his magnetic personality and unique ability to connect with people from all walks of life. He was a natural leader who made the people around him better. Inspectioneering would not be what it is today without his leadership, passion, and dedication to advancing the industry we’ve all grown to love.

What follows are some stories, anecdotes, and memories from some of Tyler’s closest friends, family, colleagues, and business associates. Rest assured that we were only limited by publication length restrictions and we could have very easily compiled a tome of similar stories from countless others that were impacted by Tyler.

Greg Alvarado

On November 16th, the American Petroleum Institute posthumously awarded honorary API 510 Pressure Vessel Inspector and API 570 Piping Inspector certificates to Tyler Alvarado. This award underscores the deep influence and impact Tyler had on the mechanical integrity industry through his untiring work ethic, leadership, and vision at Inspectioneering. As Tyler’s dad, I can say it was predictable that in whatever calling Tyler answered he would be a change agent; that vision and step-change were inevitable wherever he determined to spend his passion, time, and effort.

After obtaining his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Oklahoma, Tyler started his career as an attorney in 2010 working for a major, integrated oil and gas company in Texas. Previously, he worked part-time as a landman while attending law school. He was a hard worker, ever-busy, influential, productive, and had a passion for the oil and gas industry.

He was exposed to the world of inspection, risk-based inspection, and fitness-for-service working part-time in the summers of his college years for a respected consulting company. In fact, he had also been helping with the Inspectioneering Journal business since his junior high school days. All of this being said, it was no surprise when he approached me with the desire to take over the leadership role at Inspectioneering. He wanted to make a positive difference in the industry and the world as soon as possible. As you can imagine, the road to influence in a large international oil & gas company is congested. Inspectioneering afforded him the opportunity to make a significant impact sooner rather than later. Knowing Tyler, the decision was easy. It was one I would always be proud of and never regret.

As a leader, his foundation in and commitment to integrity served him, his friends, colleagues, and the industry extremely well. Tyler formed a team at Inspectioneering that continue to make significant ripples in the industry with very strong undercurrents. He forged strong relationships with industry organizations, institutions, service and technology companies and, most importantly to him, everyday individuals – inspectors, engineers, and regulators based on earned trust, integrity, generosity, and basic grit. He helped many people and he was never in it for the glory or the recognition.

Because of his leadership style and commitment to excellence, Inspectioneering is stronger than ever and poised to grow even further thanks to Tyler’s commitment to educating and informing the industry in the selection, application, and maintenance of strong, informed mechanical integrity programs. This is evidenced through the Inspectioneering website, publications, and training. I am very proud of him and am extremely grateful to the American Petroleum Institute, those who believed in him, and the words of recognition said for him by Mr. David Miller, Director, Standards at API. I know that somewhere Tyler is very proud of this award. No doubt, he feels honored to be counted among his brothers and sisters in the various mechanical integrity professions, many of whom proudly hold the same certificates around the world. 

Thank you to all who were friends, mentors, collaborators, and loyal colleagues of my son!

Father and son
Father and son.

James Cesarini

I met Tyler ten years ago at Intertek as he and Nick came to solicit sponsorships for Inspectioneering. We immediately bonded and began a true friendship; one that grew stronger and deeper until the day he left us.

Tyler (“T”) intrigued me; young, strong, vibrant, bold. He did not have an engineering background but instead a law license, having passed the Texas State Bar exam (the only bar I ever knew T to pass!). Full of ambition and credentials. Unlike most young men today, he wanted to work in our industry. And he was determined to broaden awareness about the significance of mechanical integrity. How noble to take on this obscure science, having worked with several senior level technical people during my 36 years in industry and many of them having yet to understand the field that fed their families!

What bonded me to T was not his wanting to progress the generations of technical people in our industry but that he had such great core values. He was a renaissance man, and he had an old soul. He had bravado beyond measure. He had courage and loyalty. And he knew how to love – unconditionally.

His bravado (Chezo definition - the combination of bravery and courage) would land us in a “situation.” Example – Inspection Summit 2019 where T, in his inquisitive way strikes up a debate with an agitated individual who proceeds to lure T to a group of the debater’s friends serving as reinforcements. Mr. Bravado keeps his debate charge in step, only to turn around and look at us all in his “ride or die” fashion and say, “I knew you guys were right behind me.” I think Scott Corey had a hernia laughing so hard.

Loyal to those that shared his core values, he treated his business like the Lonesome Dove. “If you can ride with us, you can ride with Gus,” riding for the brand, always having the back of anyone that needed it. His eagerness to help overcoming your emotions hit like a tsunami over low land; you almost felt guilty not accepting his offering.

The bottom line is that T’s greatest gift was his ability to love unconditionally. And I mean Agape Love, Christlike love, not physical love but spiritual love. Not what you learn in law school but what you learn by investigating your inner self during your search for your life’s meaning.

My best illustration of this is how T and his extraordinary wife Jill took in my son Joey during a short time that I could not “communicate effectively” with Joey. At 59 years of age I called T, my thirty-something “second son” (no offense meant to Greg), seeking advice to resolve my discontent. In his typical bravado and loving fashion, T had Joey come stay with him and Jill for a short period to relate to him and ensure that Joey understood the kind of love dads have for their sons; and that it is not permission to do whatever you want.

After four days Joey returned home with a deeper understanding of dad-son relations and to this day my relationship with my son has never been stronger.

This was not magic or ferry dust or psychology that T used with Joey. It was unconditional love. He put himself in each of our shoes, walked a bit, and then discussed the feeling with my son in a way that he could relate. And when I called him to thank him for being a great “big brother” T just chuckled and, in his bravado voice, he said two profound things to me: “like you, he is my brother” and “I know that you would do the same for me.”

And he was correct in both. We loved each other like brothers, and I would have done the exact same thing for him, if only I would have ever been given the chance – unconditionally and with Agape love.

I miss him still and will forever.

James Cesarini, Tyler Alvarado, and Milkshake, the donkey.
James Cesarini, Tyler Alvarado, and Milkshake, the donkey.

Josh Means

In 2013, Tyler’s father, Greg, wrote an Inspectioneering article sharing his thoughts on the value of mentorships. In it, he briefly discussed how blessed he was to have so many impactful mentors early in his career and stressed the importance of not only having mentors but also finding opportunities to be one yourself. This belief was ingrained in Tyler. In fact, ask anyone who knew Tyler and they will tell you how often he attributed his and Inspectioneering’s success to the many mentors he had. Fast forward to 2014, a year that will always be special to me. It was the year I gained the single greatest mentor anyone could ever ask for. His belief in the importance of mentorships ultimately led to him hiring me, a college student he barely knew, as his intern.

In college, I too learned the importance of having a mentor; however, mentorships were primarily discussed in terms of facilitating professional success. Tyler didn’t share this singular belief though. He believed that mentorships should expand beyond facilitating professional success and into personal success. Although Tyler did mentor me in many different facets of business, it was just a microcosm of the impact he had on my life. Because of this conviction, he went from simply being my mentor and employer to becoming someone I considered a brother.

Tyler’s greatest trait, in my opinion, was his ability to see the good and potential in people. I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back, it was clear that Tyler saw more talent and ability (professionally and personally) in me than I saw in myself. Tyler was an unbelievable mentor to me and I’ll miss him dearly. And if we can take anything from this and learn from him, take away the importance of not only having and being a mentor but also looking for ways to expand the mentor/mentee relationship beyond professional success.

Chad Patschke

I do not remember the first time I met Tyler – it was probably at an API conference. We visited occasionally after our first meeting, usually because he was pushing me to publish something in the Journal. He had a knack for finding things he had in common with you to create a bond. We initially bonded over our love of boxers (the dog breed, not pugilists) and found out we had much more in common. Our friendship and work relationship grew over the years.

I appreciated Tyler’s passion for making our industry better and his thirst to learn. He would always be the first to admit he knew very little about whatever particular mechanical integrity topic we were discussing. I would answer his questions and give him some homework; usually websites and literature to read. When we would have a follow up discussion, Tyler had read everything I shared, researched the websites, called and discussed the topic with others in the industry and, in some cases, taught me new things about the subject. His inquisitive nature and his ability to look at things from different perspectives really drew me to want to work with him and the Inspectioneering team. We were always discussing how to help the industry grow through education and knowledge sharing.

I soon learned Tyler had an opinion about EVERYTHING! We would banter for hours over not only MI-related topics, but day-to-day things like the best breakfast sandwich, the best hair care products (that’s a joke), and any other random subjects that came up in conversation.

I cherish my last conversation with Tyler. We met for about three hours the Friday morning before he passed. In true Tyler form, he was excited and passionate about the projects we were working on. We covered all our usual topics and I left the call feeling enthused, energized, and remember thinking I was glad to have Tyler in my life. I now keep a picture of Tyler on my desk to remind me of his passion and drive. Even though Tyler is no longer on this Earth, he still motivates me and drives me to make it a better place.

I miss you, bro…

Brent Ray

Tyler: what can I say about him that hasn’t been said before, and probably better by others? I probably should mention that Tyler was an unexpected friend and confidant. He was an outlier. Why would I say that?

First, Tyler and I were separated by an age gap that sometimes will add stress to any relationship. However, we found common things to discuss, common likes and dislikes that brought our thoughts together, and a commonality in the industry provided the glue that held it all together.

Second, Tyler was a lawyer and a publisher. These two career choices can make any field engineer cringe. However, Tyler’s command of communication and easy-going style erased this from blocking our friendship. He didn’t treat me as a client and I didn’t treat him as a non-technical engineer want-to-be. We talked about technical, non-technical, philosophical, existential, and theoretical topics as easily as discussing what shape a cloud may remind us of. 

And last of all, he was the son of a friend. Usually, that hinders a relationship, but not in this case. Tyler separated himself from his father (in a good way), and we became friends based on our relationship, not any other outside influence. We had a different relationship and thus a different friendship, apart from that which I have with his father.

Overcoming these things, we came to have many chats and our friendship grew. We called it “philosophizing” and I remember the first chat we had. After losing every chip I could beg, borrow, and steal during a grueling poker event at the Inspection Summit down in Galveston, I finally broke away to the outside balcony to forget about it. Tyler joined me and immediately broke into a “what do you know about this” spiel. One topic led to another, and with a few interruptions in between from others, we finally shook hands and departed, at nearly 3:00 AM in the morning—and this with me helping lead the downstream meetings in just a few hours! Needless to say, I was certainly dragging that next day, but it was a tremendous start to a great friendship. One where a simple 10- to 15-minute phone call could become two hours long. One where the phrase “what do you think” actually meant someone was listening and trying to foresee a time when an idea could become a reality.

And I should say I respected Tyler in many ways. I enjoyed how he could take the minute details of a conversation, find the nuts and bolts, and then twist a question into your heart and mind in a way that made you really think about what you just said. He liked listening to thoughts that were “outside of the box,” ideas that didn’t fit the norm. I enjoyed bouncing those kinds of ideas between us. It was amazing to watch a small idea grow into something larger. I enjoyed watching him work within a group and help keep us all thinking. These were just some of the ways my respect grew over the years.

I mentioned earlier that Tyler was an outlier. He didn’t fit the normal friend I would make. He was different, yet somewhat familiar. He gave me an ease about our friendship that is not typical of those I associate with. He was an outlier in that respect. Malcolm Gladwell, author of the book Outliers, said it best and I think it suits Tyler well, and we should remember:

“Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.”

Tyler took the opportunities he was given, especially with cultivating friendships through true communication (talking AND listening). He knew how to reel us into his world of thought. And sometimes, he was able to get us to understand our own strengths and seize those opportunities around us.

In all, I’m going to miss Tyler and all these things I have mentioned. He was an unexpected and totally unique friend, an outlier of the most-welcomed kind. I already miss the impromptu “philosophizing.” I already miss the camaraderie he provided. He left us all too early, but he left us all with things set in motion, things to do, and things to act upon. I would think he would urge us to continue listening to each other, regardless of the generational gaps; to find ways to learn, to teach, to grow, and to continually improve ourselves and those around us. “Philosophizing” and yet finding ways to get things done – that’s what he’d want us to do. 

John Reynolds

After a few months, the shock and numbness of Tyler’s sudden, tragic passing is starting to wear off and the acceptance of another of those things that I can never understand is setting in. I had the good fortune of knowing Tyler as a ten year old kid when Greg and I would get together to talk about the newly-established Inspectioneering Journal. It was a great pleasure to watch him grow into the man he became. Little did I ever imagine that ten year old boy would become my publisher, colleague, friend and an industry leader. Tyler was so full of enthusiasm, energy, and passion for what he was doing at Inspectioneering that it wore off on me and caused me to want to write more articles for the Journal. 

Whenever I was in the neighborhood of the Inspectioneering office, I would stop by for a visit with Tyler and the rest of the team and always leave with an ever-greater appreciation for what they were doing for the industry with all the projects they had going. His questions for me during our discussions about FEMI issues always caused me to leave town with a few more ideas about articles I needed to write for the Journal. One of the things I remember most about Tyler was that he had more ideas for what Inspectioneering could do next than any of the IJ staff could keep up with, which seemed to be one of the great things about his leadership. He was always thinking about new ways Inspectioneering could advance the cause of FEMI in the industry and was especially focused on improving the knowledge base of the next generation of FEMI SMEs. 

I will long miss him. I still have a hard time processing that he’s gone. Rest in peace my friend.

Pictured left to right: Nick Schmoyer, John Reynolds, Tyler Alvarado, Jeremiah Wooten, Josh Means.
Pictured left to right: Nick Schmoyer, John Reynolds, Tyler Alvarado, Jeremiah Wooten, Josh Means.

Nick Schmoyer

Tyler was my closest friend, best man in my wedding, and business partner. He was as close to a brother to me as one could be without coming from the same bloodline. At Inspectioneering, he was nothing short of an innovator and a visionary. Whereas I tend to find comfort in consistency, well-established processes, and the like, Tyler was always searching for new and unique ways to further Inspectioneering and the industry. In this way, we worked well together (and oftentimes butted heads!).

I’ll just briefly remark on a few of the many visions Tyler had for Inspectioneering.

One such vision was to find ways to inspire inspectors and engineers to pursue excellence in their careers, eschewing the “punch the clock” mentality. His thinking was that those who pursued their passions would inevitably be followed by the trappings of success. To Tyler, a young, unknown inspector who was willing to think critically and find unique solutions for a given problem was infinitely more valuable than one who was dependent on the comfort of day-to-day routines.

Another vision of Tyler’s was to use Inspectioneering as a tool to broaden awareness and emphasize the importance of mechanical integrity to the wider world. This was important to Tyler for two reasons: (1) the various “silos” of a given company should view mechanical integrity as beneficial, not just a necessary expense, and (2) this profession, while very noble and potentially lucrative, is still mostly unknown to those still trying to determine their career paths. Tyler was fervent about finding ways to usher in the next generation of great inspectors and engineers.

Some years ago, when I was a twenty-something with doubts about what my future held, Tyler and I had many long, philosophical discussions over finding meaning in life, devoting oneself a passion rather than a job, and the elusive pursuit of happiness. Tyler recommended that I read a book, remarking that “it would change the way I look at life.” I’ll leave you with a relevant quote from that book:

“Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.”

– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Clay White

I first met Tyler when he started working for E2G in high school over the summer months. His first job in the petrochemical world was helping us on RBI projects by mining out equipment data from the sites. The first thing I noticed about him was his curiosity and desire to learn. I would tell him what things were important and how we used them, but what Tyler always wanted to know was “why?” I don’t know for sure, but maybe he was after how he could help and improve the process or the industry. Even from a young age he saw the world not for what it was, but for what it could be. 

Several years later, when Tyler took over the Inspectioneering Journal, he asked me to be on his Editorial Board and to be part of a small distinguished group of peers advising on the direction and scope of the company. As always, he asked with the same amiable respect that he’d always carried. I accepted and considered it an honor to work with him. Tyler was the kind of person that people flocked to; a natural born leader whose enthusiasm and ideas spread like a fire. He’d call me often to discuss a new idea or program to promote and advance our industry. The amazing thing about him was that any monetary gain that would potentially come from his efforts and ideas was always a secondary consideration. His true desire was to help. With Inspectioneering, his intent was always on helping (primarily inspectors) by giving access to information, training, or even by creating a hotline to “Ask the Experts”. But even when he stood to gain nothing, he went out of his way to help. 

One of the things Tyler initiated that most folks are likely not aware of was a group activity known as the “Meeting of the Minds.” The ongoing event was created and organized by Tyler and Pinnacle, and brought together a group of some of the leading MI/Inspection SMEs in the world to discuss problems and solutions in the advancement of mechanical integrity. There was no direct benefit to Inspectioneering, but the meetings did greatly benefit those attending. I learned a lot from others’ experience, discussing MI programs and pitfalls. Everyone there gained something from each other and had a chance to engage in the inspection and engineering community. And that was the point. 

Tyler’s ideas and enthusiasm came from his heart. He wanted to help people with their work and help them connect with each other. Whether you were an inspector, CEO, or an engineer, he’d make you feel welcome, included, and heard. In a world where it’s easy to focus on one’s self, Tyler was a man of vision, integrity, humility, and warmth. One who was always generous with his time. 

I’ll miss his enthusiasm for work and life. It was tremendous and infectious. I’ll miss our talks and the time I got to spend hearing what the world could be from his perspective. I’ll miss my friend. It was an honor and a privilege to know him. And though he is gone, his friendship and ideas remain. 

Jeremiah Wooten

I didn’t meet Tyler or really get to know him until the latter part of our time in law school in the late 2000s. One thing that was apparent very early to me was Tyler’s brilliance. Not only that, but he had this special ability to take extremely complex ideas and explain them in ways that anybody could understand, usually through some humorous anecdote or sports analogy. He was always laughing and telling the most engaging stories with his usual 25% creative license. I regularly called him out on his BS, but truth be told, I loved it. It made the stories more interesting and in turn, our conversations more memorable.

Tyler was a beautifully complicated individual and a true renaissance man. He knew more about religion, politics, philosophy, world history, and music than any person I’ve ever met. He was an attorney, a publisher, a woodworker, a beer brewer, and a bladesmith. But the thing I admired most about Tyler was his ability to connect with people, no matter their status or circumstance. He always took the time to get to know who someone was. He listened, he asked questions, he empathized; not to demonstrate false interest or fuel a response, but because he truly cared. That was just his way. That was how he brought people into his world and built genuine relationships. 

For me, Tyler was my classmate and friend; my business partner and collaborator; a compassionate leader and confidant. He was my hunting buddy; a fellow cereal connoisseur, bourbon enthusiast, and 90s country purist. Tyler was my brother, and I will miss him dearly.  

Yet, although he is gone, Tyler’s vision for Inspectioneering will not die. Those he has left behind will carry his torch and continue to advance the Inspectioneering community. Losing Tyler so early in this journey was a tragedy, but we shall press on. Not to say we will move on from him, but we will move forward with him; with the memories he gave us, with the lessons he taught us, and with the passion he ignited in us. 

“Stay hungry. Keep the fires lit.” – Tyler Alvarado

Bobby Wright

I first met Tyler when he was three years old, around the time his dad, Greg, joined me in working at DNV in the late 1980s. I have a picture somewhere taken about that time where Tyler had blond hair (yes, at one time he had hair) and was riding a tricycle with a Tootsie Pop in his mouth. However, it wasn’t until Tyler grew up and started working at Inspectioneering that I really got to know him.  

You know how sometimes when people pass away, you hear folks say what a great person they were, and you wonder if they are talking about the same person you knew? With Tyler, I can tell you that the words and tributes don’t do him justice. Tyler and I became very close over the last 10 years, so much so that I began to think of him as my son. Tyler came to me shortly after taking over Inspectioneering with Nick and Jeremiah and asked what they could do to make it better and more useful for our friends and clients in the industry. We talked so many times as they began to transform this little niche magazine into something that people in refineries and chemical plants around the world have come to count on and believe in. That was what Tyler wanted; not just something to make money, but to create a place where “his friends” (that is how he thought of his clients) could find information that would help them do their job better and safer. Tyler made sure to meet as many of his readers as he could. It was his mission and his passion to understand and “walk in their shoes.” We talked often about how he could help the people in our industry enjoy their work and make it more meaningful.

Tyler and I talked about the Lord a lot in the final weeks of his life. He grew up learning about and loving the Lord, but had lost his way a little in recent years, as we all do. Regardless, you could tell that Tyler loved his family, his wife Jill, his friends, and his clients, and he treated everyone with respect and cared for others as the Lord asks of us all.  

Tyler will be missed by a lot of people. He touched so many people’s lives and he was passionate about serving others. I will miss Tyler tremendously. He added so much joy, laughter, insight, love, and support to my life. We talked the very day Tyler passed, and he was planning for the future with great passion and hope.  

In closing, I just want to add that we never know how many days the Lord gives us. Tyler would tell us all, “do not take a single day for granted, as one day will be our last.”

I love you Tyler and Jill, and I’m blessed to call you friends and family.

Carrying on Tyler’s Vision

Inspectioneering’s promise is to continue our unwavering commitment to quality and integrity in every aspect of our business. Inspectioneers have come to expect this from us and we don’t intend to start neglecting that expectation now. Tyler may no longer lead us in person, but his ideas and vision will live on through Inspectioneering in spirit

We owe a sincere thank you to the countless Inspectioneers who have supported us in various ways throughout the years, whether through praise, constructive criticism, or simply being there as a friend. Inspectioneering was the vessel through which Tyler Alvarado derived his life’s meaning and each of you were instrumental in keeping him inspired.

The Tyler Alvarado Foundation

To honor Tyler’s legacy, we are establishing the Tyler Alvarado Foundation, a non-profit organization that will continue Tyler’s mission of advancing the inspection and mechanical integrity profession through scholarships, grants, and other educational and training programs. Additionally, the Foundation will create and support initiatives that benefit Tyler’s local community and veteran support programs.

We encourage you to visit tyleralvaradofoundation.org to learn more about the Foundation and pledge a one time or annual donation.

In closing, we leave you with a message from Tyler.

Inspectioneering - Guard the Gate


Comments and Discussion

Posted by Danny Landry on December 31, 2020
R.I.P. Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Carey Roberts on January 4, 2021
Inspiring stories! Touched my heart in a HUGE... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by David Jordan on January 11, 2021
RIP My Friend Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Arran Beasley on January 11, 2021
Inspiring humanitarian messages. What a loss! Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Magaly Camargo on January 25, 2021
Rest in peace and blessings to his family. Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Wil Verbeij on February 2, 2021
Rest in Peace, and blessings for his family and... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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