AIChE: Chemical Engineers at Heart of Safety

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 02:03 PM gHale


By Gregory Hale
Good chemical engineers make a difference by designing in process safety from the beginning.

“The world has changed in the past 100 years and chemical engineers have been in the center of that change,” said John Televantos, partner at Arsenal Capital Partners during his keynote address at the AIChE Spring Meeting and 13th Global Congress on Process Safety in San Antonio, TX. “Chemical engineers can do research to improve quality of plants and make them safe.”

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During his long tenure in the industry, Televantos has lived through growth periods and slow times.

“There was stagnation of the industry for over 30 years starting in the 1980s and now we are starting to see a return to growth,” he said. “There has been a renaissance of investment in growth that will allow for innovation in new products and allow for new talent to join in the industry.”

Stagnation, he said, eventually leads to bad outcomes.

Part of that stems from moving production to low cost countries.

“Globalization, as good as it is, also came at a price with low cost production – and low quality goods, especially in Asian countries,” he said. While product quality improved in Japan and Korea, poor quality and low cost will continue in China.

But overcoming those issues are was good chemical engineers are all about, Televantos said.

Chemical engineers are trained to understand physical world, but also capable of understanding the business perspective.

There are three types of entrepreneurial chemical engineers:
• Those who know the market and see and opportunity
• Those with special skills that can consult
• Deep knowledge in technology that understand market needs

Whether a chemical engineer breaks out on his or her own or stays with a company, the one thing to remember through good times and bad is to focus on the big picture.

“Nobody wants to work with negative people,” he said. “Disappointments are opportunities, but you have to be willing to learn from them and not blame others for failure.”

Also in a down markets, workers have to do more with less resources, which means people are going through stress on their jobs.

“Bosses can be unreasonable, but remember bosses are temporary,” he said. “Instead, focus on what you can do for the business.”



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