CI: Tell us a little about yourself, and what you do?
I graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1979. My chemical engineering career began at Dow Chemical, where I worked for over 34 years. Started out in the light hydrocarbon and aromatics production at Dow Chemical in Plaquemine, Louisiana. From there I moved on to hold production leadership positions in propylene oxide manufacturing, environmental operations & chlorine manufacturing. After this, I spent over 13 years as a Technology Leader for Dow’s chlor-alkali business, where I was able to see and work with the many operations around the world. Overall, I had 18 years of chlor-alkali experience at Dow Chemical. In 2014, I joined K2 Pure Solutions in Pittsburg, California, where I current serve as the Technology Director. Still learning about chlorine operations after 25 years!
CI: When did you first become involved at CI? What activities have you been involved in at CI?
I have been active with the Chlorine Institute since around 2005. Worked on various committees before they were issue teams. I have worked with HESS and Sustainable Technology Issue Teams and more recently as the board member representative for the Product Stewardship Team. In addition, I have been a part of a number of pamphlet revisions. The most memorable for me was the Chlorine Scrubbing Systems Pamphlet 89 revision that, in the middle of it, turned into the membership scrubber survey requested by the Chemical Safety Board. I did a lot of data analysis and summary from the survey, which we presented to the membership and also the Chemical Safety Board in Washington, DC. Through all that, the pamphlet was eventually revised, incorporating all that we had learned from the survey. I also continue to participate in the area of technical seminar presentations.
CI: What is something interesting about you that few would know or guess?
I don’t know if this is a “few would know,” but likely it would be a “few would guess.” True confession: I am a wine geek. It’s been a passion for me since the mid 80’s, the first time I visited Napa Valley. My wife and I enjoy visiting wineries, collecting, and tasting wine from here in the US and around the world.
CI: Tell us about your favorite CI memory or success story.
I have a lot of great memories but receiving the Pete Mayo award in 2014 was perhaps my favorite. It was my favorite because I knew Pete Mayo, and I was fortunate to work with him early in my years at CI. Awards are given throughout the years, named after various individuals, but for me this was personal because it was someone I knew and looked up to.
CI: What do you value most from your CI membership?
Really, it’s about the people and the contacts that I have made. Being able to reach out for help or advice on issues involving our CI mission has been invaluable. There are plenty of bad things that can happen, and we don’t all have to experience every single one of them ourselves. Sharing with each other helps make sure that doesn’t happen.
CI: What advice do you have for early career professionals in the chlor-alkali industry?
Learn your stuff, don’t focus so hard on your next move! Dig into the details of the chlor-alkali industry and study the CI pamphlets. Learn the details of why things work the way they do in your plant, not just the how. Regardless of your career path, whether it be more managerial or technical, this will serve you well. If you aspire to managerial positions—I speak from experience—you want to have a strong technical understanding when faced with some of the critical operational decisions that will come your way. If you aspire to more technical positions, this will give you a good base as you continue to learn, even if it is about other technologies.
Do you know an actively engaged CI member who would make a great Member Spotlight? Send their name and company to Harper Alerion at harper.alerion@CL2.com.