Profile: Keeping Pace with the Changing Landscape of Automation | AIChE

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Profile: Keeping Pace with the Changing Landscape of Automation


Reflecting on a career in the oil industry that has spanned more than four decades, Steve Elwart, the Director of Systems Engineering at Ergon Refining, finds that many of the positive changes in industry have occurred on the human side of engineering, rather than the technical side. “I have seen an increased emphasis in environmental and safety awareness,” he says. “Regarding safety, it used to be considered ‘unmanly’ to be safe, to use fall protection, to ask for help lifting things. That has changed for the better.” Elwart has also seen industry benefit over the years from an increasing number of female engineers.

“Now, we are going through what I call ‘The Great Shift Change.’ Millennials are firmly ensconced in the workplace and Gen-Xers are taking on management roles,” he says. “It is the role of the Boomer to offer guidance to these new workers and to share with them the 30+ years of experience they have on the job.”

Providing guidance is one of the most important aspects of Elwart’s job. He helps guide the company toward new automation technologies and information technology (IT) solutions. He also serves as a mentor for new employees who are joining the company...

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