What made you become a chemical engineer? (Day 11)

PotteryI was born in Stoke-on-Trent in the 1940s where my father worked for Podmore and Sons, which made and processed raw materials like clays and glazes for the pottery industry.

My father’s connection to Podmore and Sons opened a door to some summer vacation work and it became my first exposure to both industrial chemistry and engineering. The rest is history.

Today, many people are undoubtedly attracted by the excellent pay, travel and simple job satisfaction from working in some of the fascinating and important industries which form the building blocks of the modern world.

Hani Baluch
Hani Baluch

But everyone has their own story to tell. Just before I became president I received a note from Hani Baluch – a petroleum engineer with BP. She is very much a chemical engineer which represents the modern face of our profession.

Hani said: “My interest in the chemical engineering field was sparked by my experience of the modern day Gulf War and its implications on society.

“It instigated my fascination with how oil is involved in many different aspects of our lives and led me to pursue a degree that not only allowed me to do further research within this field but also guided me to a rewarding career in the petroleum industry.

“I’m currently living the American dream – I spent the past year working on the largest onshore gas field in the USA and was based in Amarillo, Texas. I had the opportunity to work on an array of projects to address my development needs and stretch my technical capabilities.

“The highlight of my time in Amarillo was the unparalleled support and mentoring I received by my colleagues to mature as a competent petroleum engineer, and successfully complete the BP graduate programme. My colleagues created a wonderful supportive and open working atmosphere that was welcoming, fulfilling and truly enjoyable.

“I hope that I continue to have the freedom to succeed in my career – making value adding changes in whatever role I am in. It is very satisfying for me to see the direct results of my work manifest on overall stability and production figures. I enjoy being close to front-line operations and working directly in the field and see my career progressing in this area.”

It’s clear to see the enjoyment Hani gets from her job and career. It’s a great profession and many of us feel the same.

So what’s your story? It would be great to hear from you.

4 thoughts on “What made you become a chemical engineer? (Day 11)”

  1. I was lucky. I realised in time that I was not going to get good A-Level results and left school after 6L to join ICI as a Lab Assistant. After 3 weeks with a clean white coat, I was transferred to the Chlorine production section and the rest is history. I took to it like a duck to water and went to university to study Chemical Engineering after 2 years nightschool doing ONC chemistry. Since then I have worked on selling centrifuges and milling/drying equipment, back to ICI for a long time ending as a plant manager, then moved into detergent minerals and additives. I worked for 42 years, not all of it was easy, but I always enjoyed myself. Chemical Engineers are the most versatile of the engineering profession and this makes for a very fulfilling career.


  2. For me, it was the combination of challenge, salary and not having to permanently sit at a desk looking at a computer screen all day. Having a father who is a metallurgist also helped, as I was exposed to industry at a young age.


  3. My father survived the war because he was a Chemical Engineer, one of the first in Greece. And if I am a Professor of Chemical Engineering today, I ought it to this profession and my father!!


  4. i for one was inspired by how the developing world can progress if its intellectual pool is harnessed and channeled towards sustainable development and energy provision. I therefore chose the best available profession to effect this change on the developing nations. and I am well on the right path to achieving this goal. I am currently in fourth of 5 years B.Eng pogram and cant wait to start practicing! check out my own blog at http://www.discoveringchemeng.weebly.com


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