Engineering Beyond Equations

Rich Heite, Chief Process Engineer, C&I Engineering, Louisville, KY
When Oct 16, 2015
from 01:00 PM to 02:15 PM
Where Ernst Hall, Room 310
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You’ve spent four, perhaps six years, studying chemical engineering. The laws of thermodynamics, calculations in mass transfer, fluid flow, reaction kinetics, and heat transfer have all been mastered. You’ve even passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam on your way to earning your Professional Engineer’s license. You are getting ready to transition into your first job, but are you prepared for the very different environment of the professional work place?

My first two days on the job as a young chemical engineer at a major East Coast refinery were shocking to say the least. By the end of the second day, I was so discouraged and disappointed with how different it was from my expectations. My high aspirations had been dashed and the fever-pitched excitement that I felt on the start of the first day seemed completely extinguished.

One of the principals involved in that tumultuous launch of my career eventually became a mentor. He was a fantastic resource who taught me a great deal about running complex plant utility systems which are critical for a refinery to operate safely. His greatest gift to me was a copy of a 1944 article that was published in Mechanical Engineering titled: “The Unwritten Laws of Engineering”.

While the internet gives you resources that I did not have 39 years ago, there is still what I consider a dearth of material to help young engineers make the transition into the technical workplace. My hope in presenting to you today is to share some of my experiences and hard-learned lessons, as well as an overview of the “Unwritten Laws of Engineering”.

Speaker's Biography

Richard Heite has over 39 years of refinery and chemical plant operating, technical service and process design experience. His career began in the Technical Services Department at Gulf Oil Refining in Philadelphia. In 1977 he accepted a position as Operations Specialist at the Gulf Oil Cincinnati Refinery where he worked in various operating supervision positions, including 2 years in Process Engineering until the refinery was closed in 1986. He then joined MAPCO Petroleum, in Memphis Tennessee as a Senior Process Engineer. In 1990 he joined Countrymark Cooperative, Mt. Vernon, IN as the refinery Operations Manager. Family circumstances led Richard to join C&I Engineering, a mid-sized full-service engineering company, in late 1991. As Chief Process Engineer, Richard was responsible to staff and develop this new department at C&I and to help expand C&I’s ISBL capabilities. The Process Engineering department at C&I Engineering is responsible for all process engineering, including process safety, for C&I projects worldwide.

Richard received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Newark College of Engineering (New Jersey Institute of Technology) in 1976.