Melissa Dearstyne
Process Engineer, GEMTE Global Engineering Americas

Why did you join Air Products?
I had two co-ops with Air Products when I was in school and enjoyed the culture, industry, and opportunities available here. A major selling point was having the Career Development Program (CDP) to figure out what long term position was the best fit.

Why do you love working at Air Products? What is it that keeps you working at Air Products?
I love working at Air Products because of the people. No matter how busy someone may be, I’ve found they are willing to teach and mentor. Plus, working at Air Products never gets boring—there are always new and more challenging assignments.

Please describe your career at Air Products to date. 
I started out at Air Products as a CDP. My first rotation was in a Continuous Improvement role where I became a certified LSS Green Belt. My second CDP assignment was in my current group as a Process Engineer, which focused on Cryo Systems at the time. When I was looking for my final rotation, I knew I wanted to continue doing process work but in Operations, so I took a Plant Process Engineering role in Houston. There was never a dull day being in the field, but I missed the daily detailed calculations, so I was elated when I rolled off in my current Process position, which I’ve now been in for over three years. In this role, I’ve taken on more responsibility and now am a lead Process Engineer on projects.  

Tell me about the most intriguing/satisfying thing(s) you’ve been involved in since you’ve been at Air Products.
Process Engineering is one of the first disciplines to work on a project. By the time the detailed design and construction on a plant is underway, we’re typically working on the next project. More than a year later, we’ll travel to site to start up and performance test the plant and it’s always rewarding to see the plant running that we spent so long designing. So far, there’s only been one project I’ve worked on and started-up but I look forward to the longer I am in this role the more plant designs and start-ups I’ll experience.

What career advice would you give to those just starting out in their engineering careers?
Find your key interest and then test out different roles that involve that key interest. For me, having the opportunity to experience being a process engineer working with operating plants and designing new plants helped me find my long-term career.

Also, always stay positive—you will not get a negative review for a good attitude, but a bad attitude could hurt you. Plus, it’s more enjoyable to work with someone who is positive.  

Please explain what you do (in your current and/or previous job) contributes to sustainability?
In my group, we optimize whatever process we are designing. Power is the largest capital cost for an ASU so there is a goal to reduce the power consumption of the plant.

As for safety, every aspect of process design has safety in mind. A large percent of our effort is ensuring all the adequate safeguards are in place, whether during HAZOP, sizing relief valves, or engineering out any safety hazards possible. Nothing is more important than safety.   

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