Process Engineering Manager
Why did you join Air Products?
I joined Air Products straight out of college, and while I knew that Chemical Engineering was for me, I was very unclear what I would be good at, let alone what I’d like. I was interested in working for a company where I would have lots of opportunity to try different aspects of Chemical Engineering, and the interview process demonstrated the wealth of options available to me if I joined Air Products. I made the right choice: within my first four years, I had worked as a Controls Engineer, in Process Safety, in Process Design, and in Operations Engineering. I had visited and worked in four different countries by then as well.
Why do you love working at Air Products? What is it that keeps you working at Air Products?
I get to work in a diverse environment speaking with and learning from many people, with a wide range of experience. I interact daily, with people whose specialties range from catalyst experts with PhDs to mechanics who learned their craft in the Navy; I find everybody’s differing viewpoints fascinating. I also enjoy never being entirely sure what the day will bring, nor which plant I’ll be working with. The mix of long term goals and urgent needs is never dull!
Please describe your career at Air Products to date.
I started in our European head office just outside London in 1996. After doing three diverse CDP (Career Development Path) rotations for different positions, I became an Operations Process Engineer supporting a Hydrogen plant in Northern England. From there I started a three-year assignment in the U.S. supporting two hydrogen plants in Northern California. My three-year assignment has been going strong now for 16 years, progressing through Site Supervisor of Southern California Hydrogen plant, Plant Manager in a Chemicals plant, and into my current position supervising Process Engineers supporting Hydrogen plants throughout the U.S.
Tell me about the most intriguing/satisfying thing(s) you’ve since you’ve been at Air Products.
For me, it’s not about specific things which I find satisfying: it’s the constant learning a little bit more every day. I get to troubleshoot things which few people have seen before, and when people who are experts in the field say, “I wasn’t expecting that” I know I’m getting a depth of knowledge few people have the opportunity to gain.
What career advice would you give to those just starting out in their engineering careers?
Try as much as you can! There are so many different directions in which you can take your engineering degree, and it’s very likely that you haven’t even considered half the different roles you’re able to do. Also, never assume you wouldn’t suit a role until you’ve tried it: chances are you’ll surprise yourself!
Please explain what you do (in your current and/or previous job) contributes to sustainability?
My role as a hydrogen plant engineer means that I help to produce H2 safely, reliably and efficiently. This means that our refinery customers are able to produce gasoline and other fuels as efficiently as possible, both allowing heavier feedstocks to be processed, and also reducing the level harmful contaminants in their fuel which would otherwise contribute to air pollution.
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