Chase Melancon | Production Supervisor | Occidental Chemical, Geismar

Chase Melancon knows how to face down a challenge. Since he was old enough to talk, he’s had to deal with a debilitating stutter. But instead of it stopping him, the stutter gave the St. Amant High School graduate a strong desire to get his message across – whether as a production supervisor at Occidental Chemical in Gonzales or as current chairman of the Ascension Parish Council.

“Moving up professionally and as an elected official and having people listen even when I sometimes don’t communicate clearly … that means a lot to me,” Melancon says. “Quite frankly no one cares. It doesn’t change their opinion of me as a leader one bit.” In fact, his colleagues on the Ascension Council recently re-elected him as chairman for the second consecutive year.

Melancon feels it has made him a more empathic leader as he manages his team of 27 operators. He has an innate ability to listen and accept new ideas. On the parish council, he often assumes a mediator’s role, looking for the middle ground where “everybody is a little bit happy and a little bit mad. When you find that middle ground, that means everyone’s doing their part.”

Originally hired by OxyChem in 2014 as a process operator, Melancon was promoted to subject matter expert in 2020, then to shift supervisor for production in 2021. He landed his current role as production supervisor in November 2022, where he has direct supervision in one of the plant’s eight process areas. “After three new positions in the last four years, I’m hoping to stay here for a little while and get my footing,” he says. “It’s been a lot of change in a short amount of time.”

His entry into politics came naturally. In 2015, Melancon began attending parish council meetings once or twice a month, then in 2019 he ran for parish council, with the full support of his wife. His only opponent eventually dropped out of the race, enabling him to run unopposed. Following his election, he aggressively pursued various roles, ultimately serving in leadership positions on the drainage, strategic planning and utilities committees.

Melancon says OxyChem has provided him with an invaluable pathway for success. “The ability to have this type of career without a four-year degree is something that Ascension and all of south Louisiana offers you,” he adds. “Our industry gives us so many alternatives with the technical schools and vo-tech schools here.”

OxyChem is like a family to him. “There’s not a manager, superintendent or anyone else that you can’t sit down with and talk to. We have 450 employees across a 500-acre site and almost everyone knows each other in some form or fashion. If you work hard and do a good job here, they notice it. I’m living proof of that.”

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