Graduate Profiles – Lucite International70

 

Graduate Profiles

 

 

 

Alison Major

What degree did you study, where and when did you graduate?

Chemical Engineering MEng (Hons), University of Edinburgh, graduated in June 2005.

Why did you decide to join Lucite International (LI)?

I didn’t know very much about LI before applying but I was really impressed with what I saw and heard during the recruitment event. It was clear that the Company considered obtaining the right graduates important and as a result a number of senior managers were involved but the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. The Company presented themselves as a forward-looking business with global opportunities but where careers could be tailored to an individual’s skills and aspirations. This has certainly been my experience so far.

What experiences have you had since joining Lucite International?

I’ve experienced a number of different roles here. I’ve had the opportunity to work in research, process design, projects, commissioning and operations support. A highlight of my career was being seconded to Singapore as part of the commissioning team for the first ever full-scale MMA plant using Alpha technology. This was a fantastic opportunity work in a new organisation and to gain experience in commissioning new technology in a brand new plant. It was also a great opportunity to experience a new country and culture.

What opportunities has Lucite International given you?

Working in different roles and parts of the organisation has given me the opportunity to meet lots of great people. Wherever I have worked, I’ve been impressed by how friendly and approachable people are throughout the organisation, whether it be the process operators, engineers, research scientists or senior managers. As well as the day-to-day challenges of my role, LI has given me the opportunity to develop myself through training, which has been tailored to my role and my own needs. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn some management principles and practices through our Skills Development Programme, which led to an externally recognised qualification awarded by the Institute of Leadership and Management.

How would you describe your experience of working at Lucite International?

I have really enjoyed my career with LI so far. Every role I have worked in has been challenging and rewarding.

Jonathan Moore

What degree did you study, where and when did you graduate?

Chemical Engineering (MEng), University of Manchester, graduated in 2008.

Why did you decide to join Lucite International (LI)?

I decided to join LI, as I wanted to work for a global company. I thought that the Company would be able to offer me a varied career, which would allow me to apply the skills and knowledge learned from my degree in different roles. At my interview I was impressed by LI’s ambition to grow the business within the global MMA market, something that was underlined by the commissioning of the new Alpha technology plant in Singapore.

What experiences have you had since joining Lucite International?

Over the past four years I have had the experience of working on a number of different plants on the Cassel Works production site. This has included day-to-day plant support and working on minor plant modifications. I have also been involved in two major overhauls and undertaken process inspections of the vessels under the guidance of the more experienced members of the team. This had allowed me to make these inspections independently at some recent smaller events.

What opportunities has Lucite International given you?

In addition to the above experiences, I have had the opportunity to be involved in multi million pound projects at various different stages of the process on site. This has included work on the front-end definition, and assisting in the commissioning of new plant equipment. I have recently become the Development Manager for the Methacrylic Acid plant, which has given me the responsibility for its long-term technical development. I have also taken on line management responsibilities for the first time, putting into practice some of the skills I have learned as part of the Skills Development Programme run internally by the Company.

How would you describe your experience of working at Lucite International?

I have really enjoyed my experience at LI and feel like a valued member of the team. There is a real feeling of an ‘open door’ policy that extends throughout the organisation, which helps you to settle into the role. Having a mentor to oversee your career helps to ensure that you have the experiences necessary to broaden your skill set as a Chemical Engineer.

What do you do in your spare time?

I enjoy playing sport; 5-a-side football with some of my colleagues or Ultimate Frisbee for my local team. I also enjoy walking so being in Teesside is ideal, with the North Yorkshire Moors only half an hour away and I can be in the heart of the Lake District in just under two hours.

What are your career ambitions?

In the short-term I would like to achieve Chartered Chemical Engineer status and I am confident that the experiences and opportunities that I have had so far will allow me to complete this successfully. I am still very open-minded about the long-term. There are various avenues that I could explore within the Company including progression down the engineering route, getting involved in operations or stepping out into a commercial or business role.

Matthew Bullivant

What degree did you study, where and when did you graduate?

Mechanical Engineering, Sheffield Hallam University, graduated in May 2009.

Why did you decide to join Lucite International (LI)?

My route into LI was through the Year in Industry scheme (YinI). After completing my A Levels I decided on an industrial placement year through the scheme, which put me in touch with LI. When I finished my year at LI, I went to university but returned to work there every Easter and summer break. It was during one of these sessions in my third year that I was approached by the Site Asset Manager, who offered me a full time engineering post on the successful completion of my degree. I accepted, got the degree and haven’t looked back since.

What experiences have you had since joining Lucite International?

As a YinI student I was given a project to undertake which involved assessing the lubrication and maintenance policies for all the pumps across site. The idea was to reduce failures and maximise uptime for the pumps. It was a successful project and the maintenance policies I created are still in use today.

I started here as a Mechanical Asset Engineer. The role includes solving short-term plant issues as well as thinking about the longer-term life and reliability of the plant. The overall aim is to maximise plant uptime, reduce failures, improve on life cycle cost and maintain a safe operable plant. As well as the Asset Engineer role I have also taken on a project role. This involves specifying new equipment and layouts at the front end of projects. The aim is to think about the maintainability of new equipment at the beginning of a project to ensure the correct maintenance policy is made live when the new equipment is made live, thus eliminating any potential problems from the start.

What opportunities has Lucite International given you?

LI does not believe in holding you back; something I learnt very early on! If you are willing to put the work in and want to progress and develop there is no limit on where you can go or what you can achieve. The Company will support you in any way they can. I’ve had the opportunity to develop my engineering skills on one of our smaller production assets before taking on a project role covering the whole site. It’s been very good to gain experience across the range of plants on site. I’ve also completed a range of courses aimed at developing my engineering skills as well as personal and management skills.

How would you describe your experience of working at Lucite International?

Since joining at the age of 17, all of my experiences have been positive. Even as a placement year student I was very impressed with how slick the organisation was and how well the staff are looked after. Nearly eight years on from joining as a student my impressions remain the same. There is a great spirit amongst all employees and the site has a friendly open door policy. It makes working here a pleasurable experience.

What do you do in your spare time?

I really enjoy the outdoors and am a very keen mountain biker, the area is perfect for it with easy access to some of the best countryside and mountain biking the country has to offer. With friends I also enjoy trips to the coast to places like Whitby or Saltburn. Nightlife in nearby towns, such as Yarm, is also good. Some may say I’m biased as I’m local, but I can’t see a reason for leaving the area or Lucite International.

What are your career ambitions?

I am currently working towards becoming a works engineer nominee, allowing me to authorise repairs and modifications on registered codal equipment. Over the next 10 years I would like to progress to area engineer level and on to responsible engineer status. This is something that has already been discussed at my reviews and the Company is willing to support and help me achieve this.

Richard Cook

What degree did you study, where and when did you graduate?

Chemical Engineering (BEng), Newcastle University, graduated In July 2011.

Why did you decide to join Lucite International (LI)?

I started working for LI in December 2011. I knew a bit about the Company due to a relative already working on one of their sites. It gave me an idea of what kind of company it is, how it is set up and the range of production and research sites. After looking more into LI I came across their Alpha technology and the new plant they had built in Singapore. I was impressed with their expansion out of the European market and their drive to move away from the longstanding process for producing methyl methacrylate. It was this strife for continuous improvement that led me to apply for a job.

What experiences have you had since joining Lucite International?

I joined our research and strategic projects base at the Wilton Centre in Redcar. I was introduced to a project looking at an alternative engineering process for producing one of the chemicals required in our Alpha process. I worked with operators to troubleshoot problems that arose during the experimental trials to allow us to prove the technology. I am now working on another project looking at a different method of removing water from a process stream on Alpha; this project has huge potential as it could greatly reduce the energy requirement to run Alpha 1 and future Alpha plants.

What opportunities has Lucite International given you?

As part of the Company’s Skills Development Programme, I’m on a management course provided by the Institute of Leadership Management. It runs over two years and consists mainly of interactive ‘classroom’ based sessions with a mix of internal and external tutors. The modules cover topics such as leadership, team working, planning and organising, and assertiveness. The course aims to provide the skills needed to become a manager in the future. LI has also given me the opportunity to attend IChemE events and courses on essential subjects such as hazard study and pressure relief.

How would you describe your experience of working at Lucite International?

The atmosphere working at LI is always friendly and relaxed. Our culture feels like that of a small, people centred firm but with a global business setting. Even throughout my assessment and interviews it was easy to see that LI is the kind of company I wanted to start and end my career with.

What do you do in your spare time?

I live just outside Hartlepool so have around a 30-minute commute to work. I enjoy seeing live music and living here gives me a great chance to see load of bands at a number of different locations; the Metro Arena, City Hall and the Stadium of Light. There’s good access to the A19 and to motorways, which means I can travel to a number of cities – Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland – all quick and easy to get to by car or public transport. The North East’s great choice of restaurants and bars are great for meeting up with friends I made while at university.

What are your career ambitions?

I hope to eventually move to our Cassel Works site down the road on Teesside to gain valuable full-scale production experience, and hopefully get to work at one of our Alpha plants overseas. I also aim to become a chartered engineer with the help of the Company and the variety of experiences I can find here.

Shaun Miller

What degree did you study, where and when did you graduate?

Chemical Engineering with Energy Resource Engineering (MEng), Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, graduated in June 2005.

Why did you decide to join Lucite International (LI)?

I’d never heard of LI until I started researching possible career paths in my final year at university. Once I started reading a bit more about what they manufacture, where they operate, and what their business is, I felt that they were a company that were going places; a dynamic, vibrant company who were looking to excel in their field, and one that I could align my aspirations to.

At my interview, I was happily surprised that I wasn’t seen by an agency, but by a number of senior managers instead. That confirmed to me that they really were a company that are dedicated to selecting the right people for the job. However, what really clinched it for me was the people culture. LI had the people orientated feel of a small firm but within a global business setting; a very rare combination, and one I felt I would be at home in.

What experiences have you had since joining Lucite International?

Almost too many to mention but there are a few highlights. Being involved in a major site overhaul on my very first day is a fond memory for me. It really helped to crystallise a lot of the learning I’d gained at university at a very early stage in my career. The ability to crawl all over, both literally and metaphorically, an offline chemical plant is a ‘must have’ experience for all budding engineers, and it’s one that I thoroughly enjoyed at the time.

Designing a restriction orifice and getting it installed in a line on site in the first fortnight of my career is another experience I remember vividly. Designing things at university and then doing the same thing in the workplace where they exist in a tangible fashion are so different! One you pay ‘lip service’ to when you check the calculation, the other you can still see imprinted on your eyelids when you close them you give it so much attention! It is such a different feeling when you design something that gets installed for real, and it is something that will actually happen when you work at LI.

My trips overseas, and the first time I presented to hundreds of knowledgeable people at a hydrogen cyanide safety conference in the USA are all memorable. In general terms, working closely with a multi-disciplined team of highly intelligent, focused and driven people is one of the on-going experiences that I’m continuing to enjoy and learn lots from.

What opportunities has Lucite International given you?

It’s given me loads of opportunities over the years! The main one has been the ability to gain a high level of accountability very quickly. Less than two years after having first started here I had the opportunity to take over the technical manager’s responsibility for a plant that produces ammonium sulphate salt; one of Cassel Works’ product plants. This was an exciting time, and one that’s not easy to achieve at other companies. From here I honed my skills at being a technical manager before again having the opportunity to further expand my remit by taking on our two hydrogen cyanide production plants. Being our highest hazard assets on site this was a serious level of accountability and was a brilliant challenge! Today, I’ve left behind my Cassel Works’ roots and am involved with the Alpha team (Alpha is LI’s new, patented technology for the production of MMA). Again, not knowing much about our Alpha technology prior to this assignment, I have had the chance to lead the process engineering effort on $50+million worth of capital projects planned for the Alpha 1 plant; another really exciting challenge, and one that has involved numerous trips overseas, which is always good!

How would you describe your experience of working at Lucite International?

A very enjoyable one! Working at Lucite International has been a lot of fun and a fulfilling experience. It can be very hectic at times, especially when you are aligned to a production area, but the atmosphere is vibrant and there is always something going on; a good place to work, with good people.

What do you do in your spare time?

My wife and I are keen sports shooters so we regularly partake in small bore and full bore shooting at a number of the military ranges close by, as well as some skeet shooting at any one of the nearby clay pigeon ranges. The North East, with its location right on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors, is a great place to live if you like to sample country pursuits regularly!

In my (slightly) younger days (before the baby came along) eating out and hitting the pubs used to be one of our main hobbies. Again, with the North East being a semi-rural location, finding restaurants that serve top quality, local produce is easily done and there are lots of good pubs that stock ‘proper’ beer from the local breweries. Middlesbrough and Yarm are both good places for a night out, but with Newcastle and York nearby, a ‘big city’ night out is easy to achieve if you so desire!

What are your career ambitions?

In the short-term it is to get out to our Alpha 1 plant in Singapore for a few years. After that, who knows? A Senior Management position somewhere would be nice!

Suzanne Field

What degree did you study, where and when did you graduate?

Chemical Engineering (MEng) with Industrial Experience, Manchester University, graduated in 2009.

Why did you decide to join Lucite International (LI)?

As part of my degree I was required to do a one-year industrial placement and of all the companies I had interviews with, I felt LI was where I would have the best experience. Rather than being given simple tasks to complete, I was given a project to investigate – a real process problem, which culminated in me presenting my recommendations to the Site Director. When they offered me a graduate job at the end of my placement, I was happy to accept!

What experiences have you had since joining Lucite International?

Because the Company has a number of sites in the UK, I have been able to experience different types of chemical engineering roles. My placement was at LI’s speciality resins plant, manufacturing low-tonnage, high value polymer, where my job mainly looked at improving the efficiency of the process. My first job after graduating was as part of the research team, testing new technologies for the Alpha process on a pilot scale. I am now working at Cassel, where we produce MMA, and my job is different again. I’m working on projects that both update existing, and install new equipment. Few companies can offer upstream, downstream and research all in one region.

What opportunities has Lucite International given you?

After having worked on several projects run by other engineers, I was given the opportunity to lead the design and installation of a new piece of pilot equipment that could be built as part of future plants. I worked with chemists, managers and engineers in a variety of disciplines to scale up the lab rig, design a pilot-scale unit and install it into the existing pilot plant. Unlike projects on large sites, I was able to be involved at every stage and see my design grow from a sketch on paper to a physical piece of equipment.

How would you describe your experience of working at Lucite International?

Work here is always interesting; whether in the research department or on a production site, there is something new every day.

What do you do in your spare time?

When I moved to the North East, a friend joked that I would move back to Manchester within a year out of sheer boredom. Quite the contrary! Between the surf at Saltburn, history in Durham, music festivals in Stockton, walks on the North York Moors and city visits to Newcastle, I’m yet to experience a weekend where there isn’t something going on nearby that I want to go to.

What are your career ambitions?

Having only recently moved back to a production site as part of my graduate rotation, I’m undecided as to where to take my career next. For now I am happy to experience a number of jobs within the Company before deciding what type of role I would like in the longer-term.

Tony Kydonakis

What degree did you study, where and when did you graduate?

Electronics Engineering with a Masters in Automation and Control, Newcastle University, graduated in 2008.

Why did you decide to join Lucite International (LI)?

The main reason for my decision to join LI was the people I met and things I saw during my interview and site tour here at Cassel. I really enjoyed those two days. It was the friendly feeling and the culture of the people that attracted me as well as the size and complexity of the plants, which was certain to bring challenges to a graduate engineer.

What experiences have you had since joining Lucite International?

Every day here at LI is a new experience and the days fill very quickly. So far I have had a chance to take part in many overhauls, including a major shutdown, see various projects through to commissioning, attend numerous training courses and seminars, and complete a two-year line management course, to name but a few.

What opportunities has Lucite International given you?

Besides the opportunity to work as an asset engineer and manage a world class production plant, I also spent a month in the project and design office, managed a major overhaul, commissioned projects as well as taking part in community activities. The opportunities are truly endless, especially now that LI is part of the Mitsubishi Chemicals group, with operations all over the world.

How would you describe your experience of working at Lucite International?

My experiences with LIso far have been very positive. The Company’s culture has indeed proven to be very people-oriented and everyone here seems to adopt a friendly ‘open door’ policy. I found this to be very helpful, especially for new starters.

What do you do in your spare time?

In my free time I tend to go to the gym or out for a meal or a drink. I currently live in Newcastle, which is a very vibrant and friendly city with very good nightlife. I also like holidays and the North East has proven to be a great place in that respect as it combines both seaside and countryside.

What are your career ambitions?

I have just been assigned responsibility for one of our most important and challenging plants, so my focus at the moment is to understand the process and challenges it brings. Following on from that I envisage taking on a managerial position or move on to working on projects abroad.