Ronda Smith Birdsong:
A home-team effort

Behind the energy

Nothing brings my team together like problem solving.

It’s where we check our egos at the door; rely on previous experience while bringing in fresh ideas; and look at the issue from all sides.

Growing up in Baytown, Texas I played sports all the time and later got to play softball for Texas A&M. I always thought about being a coach and in some ways that dream has come true in my current role as a field supervisor at ExxonMobil’s Baytown Olefins Plant.

Today, the uniforms may be different, but the sense of goal-focused intention is similar to what I found on the softball diamond. In both worlds, individuals in different roles, from different backgrounds and with different skills work together to meet the same objective.

In the olefins plant, we are a diverse group of men and, a growing number of women, that work a variety of shifts — days, nights, weekends – all with the goal of making operations as safe and efficient as possible. We prepare equipment for maintenance, oversee critical unit operations and, of course, problem solve… together.

Because we come from different backgrounds – law enforcement, education, military and trades – we are lucky enough to bring diverse ideas to the challenge at hand. No two minds think the same and no two sets of eyes see the same thing.

Before we open a valve or shut off a piece of equipment, we constantly ask each other: “Why am I doing this and what could go wrong?” For us, it’s all about safety and mitigating risk, so that we make sure everyone goes home to their families the same as when they started the shift.

For me, that’s a true team win on any scoreboard.

Tags:   Behind the energyGrowing the GulfjobsRipple Effect
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