Since Regina Davis was named refinery manager of the ExxonMobil Product Solutions Complex at the start of September, her priority has been to “unlock innovation” within both the facility’s workforce and technology.
A Louisiana native, Davis previously worked as a process contact engineer in ExxonMobil’s refinery in Chalmette from 1999 to 2008, and at various other refineries. Most recently, starting in 2017, she was technical manager of the company’s Strathcona Refinery in Edmonton, Alberta.
Part of the innovation Davis wants to bring to the facility comes in the form of the aptly named Innovation Suite, a proposed $250 million investment in three projects centered in both Davis’ Baton Rouge refinery and the Port Allen facility across the river.
It’s these projects that will help bring Baton Rouge into the future, she adds, becoming an integral part of the transition into other burgeoning industries such as wind power and microchip production.
Innovation is not only technological, Davis emphasizes. If ExxonMobil and Baton Rouge are going to compete in a changing energy landscape, a diverse workforce is a must.
But a diverse workforce is more than traditional diversity initiatives; it’s creating an environment of diverse thought, an environment where integration of these ideas is encouraged, Davis explains.
“We also have to attract a workforce that can continue to bring us diverse thought and innovation,” Davis says.
Davis, the first in her family to go to college, wants to emphasize the importance of expanding the workforce outside of traditional avenues, providing valuable resources to those who simply need a little extra help to achieve greatness in the field.
Over the course of her career, Davis has made it a priority to mentor the next generation, specifically female minorities who aren’t nearly as prominent in the petrochemical field as their male counterparts.
According to the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies, women account for only one-fourth of oil and gas employees worldwide and 17% of executive level jobs.
“When I was in middle school, there was a program where women in STEM careers came and shared their experiences, and that was what kind of unlocked for me that there were people that I can relate to, that look like me and kind of make me feel like, ‘Hey, I can do this,’” Davis says.
Davis adds that she is dedicated to mentoring and connecting women in her field, helping to create and sponsor the Women’s Interest Network at ExxonMobil and serving as inaugural co-chair of the Women United Initiative for the United Way Alberta Capital Region. She plans to join the Capital Area United Way in Baton Rouge.
“One of the themes that we said was when women thrive, we all thrive,” she says.