Veteran thrives at the U.S. Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project

    It may not seem like the U.S. military and a chemical company have a lot in common; however, veterans are discovering that many of the skills needed to succeed in the military – including accountability, discipline and communication – also are highly valued at Chevron Phillips Chemical. Together, these skills help the company succeed in recruiting and employing qualified protected veterans.

    Jason Billings, 37, is a process operator at the Cedar Bayou plant; however, just a few years ago, he was serving in the U.S. Army in hot spots including Afghanistan and Iraq. Billings, who was hired in 2015 to work on the U.S. Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project (USGC PP), talks about why Chevron Phillips Chemical is a great fit for a veteran.

    Q. How long did you serve in the military?

    A.  I was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army for 13 years, serving as a 13B Cannon crewmember at four duty stations. I was deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. I retired in November 2011 at Fort Bliss, Texas.

    Q. How did you decide to join Chevron ON DUTY AT CEDAR BAYOU: Billings empties a low point drain in the oil mist system at the Chevron Phillips Chemical Cedar Bayou fPhillips Chemical?

    A. After the military, my wife Sheila and I moved to Houston with our children, Andrew, 6, and Lydia, 2.  I was working at a car dealership when I struck up a conversation with a customer about working at a plant. He broke down the steps to take to become a process operator, and it sounded like something that I had the background to do. I enrolled in the process technology program at Alvin Community College shortly after that conversation.

    Q. How has your work experience been so far? What is it like to be part of a significant, long-term project like the USGC Petrochemicals Project?

    A. The road to completion of the project has been very interesting, and we are all ready for startup to begin. Being part of a huge project like this has allowed all of us to see a different part of our unit. When we first got here, the unit was little more than a plan on paper -- there was very little work completed in the field. It has been incredible to watch that plan become real over the last two years.

    Q. What is an average work day like for you? What is the best part of your job?

    A. There are a lot of jobs in the construction phase. The best part for me is the responsibility that I have. I have been on pre-hydro walks (checking a line to ensure that it matches the piping and instrumentation diagram), loop checks (looking at the communication between the Distribution Control System and valves/motors), line cleaning and Standard Operating Procedure write ups and walk downs, just to name a few. I like that we have the ability to see how everything works together and what systems affect each other before there is process in the pipe. After startup, an operator’s job includes operating chemical processing and other equipment, as well as monitoring instruments and walking around the plant to ensure the right production conditions. We record operating data, such as process conditions, test results and instrument readings. We also draw samples of products and conduct quality control tests to monitor processing and ensure that Chevron Phillips Chemical’s high standards are met.

    Q. Did your military experience help prepare you in any way for this job?

    A. In the military, we had core competencies that every soldier must be driven by, such as accountability, discipline and effective communication. You need to have those competencies for this job. I use them every day.

    Q. What would your advice be to a veteran who is considering working at Chevron Phillips Chemical?

    A. This is a great company. You will feel like part of the team here. A lot of our values and work ethic from the military translate into our workplace. The brotherhood we had in the military can be found here, and you will be given a lot of responsibility.

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