Day in the Life of a ChemE: Ryan Mowers

Ryan Mowers is an industrial sales engineer at The Kahl Company. As a technical sales and support engineer, Ryan works with chemical plants, refineries, EPCs, and other industrial manufacturers on capital and maintenance projects to increase capacity, expand production, optimize processes, and solve tough emissions related challenges.

I recently caught up with Ryan to chat what a typical work day is like for him and to learn more about his career.

Describe a typical day in your role.

Typically I am on the road 2-3 days a week driving to customer meetings at their offices or manufacturing plants. We'll usually have a meeting to discuss the issue or project at hand, then go out in the plant to have a look at the equipment. I take pictures and notes to make sure I understand what the customer needs and offer them input in regards to which equipment or technology might be a best fit for their application.

As a manufacturers' rep, I serve as the local technical sales and support for the manufacturers that my company is partnered with. When not in customer meetings I am usually talking with customers on the phone about their projects or working with applications engineers at our equipment manufacturers to make sure the equipment we are designing meets all customer requirements. I work from my home office in Philadelphia or at our office in Wilmington, Delaware when not on the road visiting customers.

What do you like best about working in your industry?

I get to visit all different types of manufacturing facilities such as waste to energy plants, power plants, chemical plants, pharmaceuticals, municipal water treatment, petroleum refineries, bakeries, and many others. I get to meet with engineers at all of these facilities and help them solve the various problems and challenges they face in operating their facility or trying to upgrade their processes. Every plant and every day brings a new challenge.

Where do you see the future of your industry?

My company provides equipment that goes into all types of manufacturing and industries. The trends that I see almost universally that are affecting our manufacturing customers are emphasis on resource preservation and minimizing waste streams, and increased automation and operating efficiency with the staff that they have. For our business, this means an emphasis on air pollution control technologies to minimize emissions, providing reliable and well-made equipment, and technologies that help reduce manual labor so operators are safer and can focus on more pressing tasks with their limited time.

Any advice for someone who is interested in joining your industry?

If you consider yourself independent and/or entrepreneurial then a job as a technical sales rep or manufacturers' rep might be for you. In this role, communication and interpersonal skills are paramount. However, on almost any job application, whether in sales or engineering, these skills will be a requirement to success in your role.

Communication skills also have value throughout your life in many other ways besides in your career. As engineers we tend to sometimes overlook the importance of the communications aspect of engineering, but if you can combine solid technical skills with good communication you will be a very valuable member of any team.

Help inspire future chemical engineers and be featured in our Day in the Life series.

Ryan Mowers

Ryan works as an industrial sales engineer at The Kahl Company. He helps maintenance, operations, and engineering personnel keep their manufacturing plants running efficiently and in-compliance. 

Connect with Ryan on Engage.