On Thursday morning, the Fellows were greeted by several KU alumni at Chevron Philips Chemical. After arriving in Houston the day before, the group got to spend several hours speaking with CP Chem executives and hear their paths that led them to success within the chemicals industry.
Chevron Phillips Chemical (CP Chem) is a joint venture chemicals production company between Chevron Corporation and Phillips 66. It was created in 2000 when the chemical operations of each company merged. Several different industries are served by CP Chem, including automotive, agriculture, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and textiles, among many others. At the end of 2014, CP Chem employed more than 5,000 people globally and had more than $9 billion in assets.
Fellows had the opportunity to meet with several successful employees and executives, almost all of whom are KU alumni themselves. CP Chem participants included Kyle Mathis (Director of Strategic Transactions), Kelly Lohmeyer (E-Series Catalyst Product/Tech Sales Manager), Jacob Spence (Polyethylene Business Development Manager), Kevin Collins (Manager, Process Safety Management), Cathy Brenk (Owner Relations Manager) and Jim Telljohann (Vice President of Corporate Planning and Development).
The group was welcomed and hosted by Kyle Mathis, a KU alumnus who graduated with a chemical engineering degree in 1990. Mr. Mathis described his career path and the work that CP Chem is involved in. Fellows then spoke with Kelly Lohmeyer, a SELF Program alumna who graduated in 2011, as she described her opening years as an engineer with CP Chem and the graduate rotation program that new hires participate in. Jacob Spence, Kevin Collins, and Cathy Brenk each described their personal career paths as well, before Jim Telljohann discussed his experiences and challenges associated with running a global business. All in all, the visit offered great insight into an amazing company with many successful Jayhawk alumni. We are all very grateful and appreciative for the in-depth look at such a prestigious company.
In the afternoon, we visited Exxon Mobil Corporation (ExxonMobil), an American multinational oil and gas corporation. It was formed in 1999 when two former arms of John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company combined and started the oil and gas merging trend of the early 21st century. Boasting a daily production of 3.921 million BOE and an estimated reserve of 25.2 billion BOE ExxonMobil is the largest supermajor in the world. Exxon provides services the span the entire energy industry including exploration/production, shipping, refining, and chemical division all based out of the greater Houston, Texas area.
ExxonMobil recently built its new world headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas. The new campus covers 385 wooded acres and is capable of housing 10,000 employees. Fellows were able to marvel at the incredible architectural feats that were designed into the campus including cantilever staircases and a 3D tour of a drilling rig in ExxonMobil’s CAVE simulator.
Fellows were welcomed to the ExxonMobil campus by several KU alumni including Jacquelyn Jensen (Midstream Americas Recruiting and Training Coordinator), Jason Canter E’98 (Sales Engineer), Keaton Arnold E’16 (Fuels and Lubricants Program Advisor), Gelareh Samandi E’14 (Americas Operations Project Coordinator), and Steven Qiu E’11 (Supply Chain Supervisor).
After our visits in The Woodlands, the Fellows trekked back to Houston proper for an alumni reception at The Grotto Ristorante. There, we met with KU alums of all stripes. We would like to thank Nick Kallail from the KU Alumni Association and Amy Spikes from the Endowment Association for putting together a fantastic evening.