Stacey Wilson: It’s all part of the process - Energy Factor
Behind the energy

Stacey Wilson: It’s all part of the process

Aug. 17, 2016

I’m all about creating things that benefit society. That’s probably why I became a chemical engineer. The heart of our work involves setting up processes that turn various elements on the periodic table into chemicals that are used in a variety of products that improve people’s lives.

I continue to use the analytical mindset and attention to detail that chemical engineering instilled in me in my current job as a manager in ExxonMobil’s petrochemical business. My team and I are kind of like air traffic controllers, guiding the polymers we manufacture out the door and to our customers. We manage a complex supply chain and we’re here to make sure it keeps up with client demand. And guess what? At the heart of our delivery system are processes we’ve established so that our products always reach our customers. What can I say, I love helpful processes. I know it sounds nerdy, but I’m proud to be a nerd.

When people think about ExxonMobil, they mostly think about service stations and oil and gas drilling. But we’re actually much more than that. Take our petrochemical business, for example. It uses petroleum we produce as a feedstock to make polymers that go into an endless array of products. From sticky notes to car parts, food containers to medical supplies, the products our polymers go into help improve peoples’ lives. I never get tired talking about what we make. Sometimes, when I’m out shopping with friends, I can’t stop myself from showing them all the things that contain our products.

I’ve always loved math and science. This might literally be in my DNA. My father worked for United Airlines as an engineer who repaired complex jet engines, and my older sister is an electrical engineer. Needless to say, in my family, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) runs deep. Science also helped provide a real connection to my father, who passed away when I was very young.

Process and scientific logic drives everything I do, so when it came time to choose a college I created a process to figure out what school was the best fit for me. Most of my friends were enrolling in large state schools, but I was looking for something different. I wanted a school with a strong engineering program and a vibrant social and cultural scene. Tulane, with its engineering program and location in New Orleans, fit the bill. And the fact that they offered me a scholarship also didn’t hurt.

I love using my engineering skills and mindset. Every day my team and I establish structures and processes that ultimately serve as the foundation for developing products that improve our world.