Like father, like daughter (well, with a twist).
When Yarelis Hernandez was a little girl, growing up in Puerto Rico — she knew all about the business of making chemicals and the products made from chemicals.
Her dad worked in the industry — and she still remembers his work stories around the dinner table each night. Especially she remembers what he used to say about engineers: “they don’t know anything,” he’d tell her, “and they don’t listen to workers like us.” (Her dad was a pipefitter.)
That’s a vivid memory today because now, Yarelis Hernandez is one of those engineers — a chemical engineer. In fact, she’s in charge of a chemical plant: Site Manager at LyondellBasell’s Clinton, Iowa operation.
LyondellBasell is one the largest chemicals, plastics and refining companies in the world – with manufacturing plants across the United States and around the world.
“What do we do?” Yarelis Hernandez explains, “We make things out of thin air! The air — is the gas ethylene. We add a catalyst, we add isobutane, hexene and hydrogen, we heat it, process it, and that ‘air’ becomes plastic pellets. Those pellets go from here to businesses that use them to make car parts and milk jugs and lawn chairs — all sorts of things we all use every day, start here.”
But if you want to know more about her work, don’t call Hernandez on Friday mornings. Those are for her “manager’s walkabout” — when she gets out in the field. Hernandez takes a supervisor and an operator with her, walks the plant, shares with them what she sees that she likes and what needs attention. And, remembering her dad, she LISTENS to them, so they also tell her what they are seeing that’s good, and what needs attention.