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Challenges Facing New Engineers in Today’s Petrochemicals and Chemicals Industry

Elias Keedy, PCT Senior Engineer, Bayer Material Science, Baytown, TX

A cornerstone of the U.S. economy, chemistry is a $800 billion industry that’s shaping the way we live and touching 96% of the goods that we use. Texas is the nation’s largest chemicals producer, manufacturing 14 percent of the nation’s value of chemical output. Specifically, the Gulf Coast complex of chemical plants and refineries is the largest petrochemical complex in the world, home to over 200 chemical plants. The major opportunity for companies is to reduce the dependence on non-renewable resources through innovative technologies. However, another significant challenge for these companies is to cut their costs while ensuring that they conform to the best practices in safety, environment, and quality. This can mainly be achieved through reliable production, sustainable workforce, and competitive education. The globalization of the world’s economy has altered the working environment and job market for engineers. Even though educational institutes are trying to compete in order to shape the future of higher education, students are called to extend their knowledge far beyond the boundaries of their discipline of studies. My presentation highlights today’s challenges for new engineers in the chemical industry as it is undergoing huge changes worldwide, focusing on local perspectives. It is an introduction to the chemical industry’s opportunities with Industrial Engineering eyes.


Elias Keedy is Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Houston in 2013, and I&E Reliability Lead for the Baytown site at Covestro (ex. Bayer Material Science). He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Balamand-Lebanon, and an MIE degree from the University of Houston, TX. Elias is also an adjunct professor of engineering in the IE department at the University of Houston, and an adjunct professor of Management at the University of Houston-Downtown. His research focused on mathematical reliability modeling, and optimal maintenance of new emerging technologies such as biomedical implant devices. He started his career with Bayer in 2011 as a Process Control and Instrumentation unit Engineer. He is a member of INFORMS, ASQ, and ISA.