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Home  > Insider profile
Chris Andersen
Process Engineer

When I studied engineering in college, I really wasn't too sure how I would use that knowledge.

How did you get your big breaks?

When I studied engineering in college, I really wasn't too sure how I would use that knowledge. In college, I had a professor who thought an internship opportunity might be a motivational tool. I was the top student in that class and through my efforts, I was the lucky one who got an internship. I interned for a company my professor had done some consulting with over the years. That was my first exposure to real life work as a chemical engineer. I now work for an integrated petroleum company as a process engineer.

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

Find an internship and for every day you're there, prove you can do the real job. Show up on time, be professional, and learn everything you can. With the right attitude and a good work ethic, you'll get noticed.

What have you learned from your experience?

Grades are important for engineers. Some companies have minimum GPA requirements. Study hard if you want to get into this field. Communication is very important. I interact with different personalities, from engineers and business people, to the operators who run and maintain the plant on a daily basis. Good communication skills are essential to my job.

What most excites you about your job right now?

I like having a job that matters. Every day I attend a meeting in which engineers discuss long-term planning for the refinery with an eye on keeping it running efficiently. We discuss both maintenance and safety issues. I'm constantly reminded of how the work I'm doing can impact the lives of others- both negatively and positively.

What would you like to have achieved by the last day of your career?

Working for a large company, I have options to work on the management side. The trend is for someone in my job to advance by managing other engineers. I expect I'll take on a more business-related management position in the future.

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