Taylor Swartz had a difficult time trying to decide on a career though she knew it would involve science.
“My whole life I have loved science,” said Swartz, of Alvin. “That’s what I’ve been drawn to and I, for some reason, find it fascinating.”
After considering Nursing and then possibly a Veterinarian Technician, Swartz settled instead on Process Technology. Swartz had family members who worked in local petrochemical plants, so she decided that was the route for her.
“Everything’s a chemical reaction,” she said. “There’s so much science in it. I was so excited every day for my classes.”
Process technology operators work with industrial complexes to ensure that the plant’s processes are operating as designed.
“The goal is to make on-spec products safely and efficiently,” she said. “You have to be willing to really study and put in the effort to learn the material but also get your hands dirty. If you’re willing to do that, the rewards are there.”
Swartz has now been working with Phillips 66 in Sweeny for three years.
“I fell into a great position there,” she said. “It’s a good job and a great career.”
Working in the field pays extremely well and has been a great experience, Swartz said.
“It’s given me the opportunity to provide for my family,” she said. “The money we make is amazing.”
The Process Technology field also allows her a chance to broaden her skills and consider travel to other locations. Swartz is also thinking about continuing her education to improve her knowledge.
“I’m actually considering going into engineering,” she said. “I want to learn more. I can stay an operator and still have that education. Just having more background knowledge makes you a better operator.”
While she was nervous about being a woman in a field dominated by men, Swartz said she turned to her grandmother, who was also a process technology operator, for advice.
“I talked to her about the work schedule and what it’s like being an operator and decided it was something I would be interested in,” she said. “It was kind of intimidating at first. Now the field is very inclusive.”
To listen to an extended interview with Taylor Swartz, check out the ACC Podcast available wherever you get your podcasts.