Climbing high into the sky to follow his father’s passion

  • ADayintheLife
    With enthusiasm and passion, Eric Tukes put his telecommunications career behind him to become a process operator. Growing up, he watched his father be an operator and saw how well his dad was able to provide for his family. Now, Eric’s six-year-old son is amazed that his dad gets to climb literally and figuratively to the top of the new, multi-billion dollar assets along the Texas Gulf Coast.
    Shifting gears
    Eric spent 14 years in the telecommunications industry. He realized he didn’t have a future with the company so he started taking process technology classes. Before he knew it, he switched careers and started working in the chemical industry.
    He hired on to Chevron Phillips Chemical in December 2014, several months after the groundbreaking for the U.S. Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project. He was one of 200 people hired specifically for the polyethylene units in Old Ocean, Texas.
    From dirt to two world-scale units constructed right in front of him, Eric’s motivation lies in wanting to be the absolute best, and his coworkers share that sentiment. “We are employed at an elite company, and we want to ensure these polyethylene units are making the highest-quality product. We are trying our best to be the best,” he said. 
    Following his passion
    Eric’s passion also lies in wanting to be the experienced operator on the next potential project. “When the experienced employees started sharing their knowledge, it brought everything together for us," he said. "They are invaluable to this company, and I want to be on the forefront of the next potential project.”
    He adds, “We ultimately want to safely start up the polyethylene units. It is hard work and there are a lot of different personalities but you become a family. We are each other’s keepers and want one another to return home just the way we came to work.”
    Being a role model
    At home, Eric is a role model for his children like his dad was for him. Knowing that his father climbed high into the sky to work on the units, Eric’s son wants to be an operator when he grows up. After meeting several women at a company-sponsored family event, his daughter now knows women can work in the industry too. However, she is choosing to be an engineer, climbing a different kind of ladder.
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