Project Champion Spotlight, Maricela Johnson (Chevron)

By MTI Admin posted 09-16-2021 11:07 AM

Q&A with Corrosion in Bio-oils Project Champion, Maricela Johnson
10-Maricela.jpgQ: Please describe your role at Chevron Corporation.
A: I have been a Chevron Materials Engineer for 13 years and held numerous technical roles across different Chevron operating companies, including the central technical group supporting both upstream and downstream business units, site refinery materials engineer, and project materials engineer. I have also served as the program manager for Chevron’s materials and reliability training for engineers and inspectors.

Q: How long have you been a member of MTI and how have you benefited from your involvement?
A: I joined MTI as the TAC Representative and Designated Representative in February 2018. Technically, I have benefited immensely from the resources and technical support within the MTI community.

Q: Have your fellow MTI members helped you grow in your career and/or in your involvement with MTI? If so, how?
A: I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of community. As a new TAC Rep and DR, I was unsure of how to approach my new role, but I immediately found mentors among my fellow MTI members and MTI staff. There is never a shortage of someone to talk to, share technical perspectives with, or have a meal with during the AmeriTAC meetings I have attended. I have built strong working relationships that have helped me develop both my technical and project management skills.

Q: How did you become a project champion? Please tell us how you came to take on this role and what skills and/or experience you believe can help the project and team succeed.
A: During one of the PDC meetings, I proposed a potential project idea to have MTI help fill the industry knowledge gap on the topic of bio-oil corrosion. As alternative fuels and ways to lower carbon emissions become more widely explored by member companies, I thought MTI could help lead the industry effort to bridge knowledge gaps. The idea was well received, and I was happy to volunteer to Champion the project. I hope to help the project succeed by bringing my field materials engineering perspective to the table. My goal for the project is to have a better understanding of the impact that bio-oil processing and co-processing will have on the long-term reliability of process piping and equipment.

Q: Tell us about the Corrosion in Bio-Oils (357) Project.
A: The purpose of the project at its current potential stage is to better understand the corrosion associated with processing bio-oil feedstocks. This can affect both an existing unit looking to co-process or a newly designed unit. The project has a strong interest from owner/operators, consulting engineering companies, and suppliers. As processing alternative fuels becomes more common, understanding proper materials selection will become important across member companies.

Q: How was the project idea conceived? Is the current state of the project the same as the original idea or how has it changed?
A: The project is still in the potential phase with a strong interest from many member companies. We had a successful meeting in February 2021 and have started the process of bounding the frame for the scope of the initial phase of the project. Because bio-oil corrosion is a complex topic with many paths to research, the project team will start with a literature search focused on identifying free fatty acid corrosion data for lipid feed stocks. I am confident that as we learn more and develop project deliverables this will become a multi-phase project with many avenues available to explore.

Please explain what you have learned from your experiences as a team member of other MTI projects and how it has helped you as a project champion.
A: As a team member in other MTI projects, I have observed how willing the MTI community is to offer insight and guidance to the projects every step of the way. I have been impressed at how different perspectives are respectfully and openly shared. As a project champion this has helped me develop my confidence in bringing my ideas to the table. I know I don’t have to be an expert on the topic to offer my perspective, be a valued contributor or help lead the discussions. For the bio-oil topic, I am eager to develop both technically and as a project champion.

Q: What are you gaining from this experience as a project champion?
A: This is my first time as a project champion. Thus far, I’ve gained a more detailed understanding of how ideas become projects and look forward to going through the entire funding proposal process to provide a valuable deliverable to member companies. I have built a strong working relationship with Dr. Robert Freed (MTI) and with other members, and I know that I have strong support for a successful project.

Q: Just for fun, so we get to know you outside of MTI: What is the best city you have ever visited and why?
A: While in college I had the opportunity to spend a summer internship in Spain. I had friends interning all over Europe and we would plan weekend trips together to visit each other. By far my favorite city to visit was Rome, Italy. I immediately fell in love with the sights, the food (I had so much gelato), the rich and beautiful history. I had the opportunity to take a guided tour through the Vatican and still remember the awe I felt. I went to visit with my husband years later and it was great to experience it again through his first-time vantage point. I hope to visit again someday.

Q: Briefly talk about one exciting/proud moment in your professional career.
A: During my career I have had the opportunity to support two major capital projects. The first one was the installation of six new Coke Drums that were fabricated in Spain. The second major capital project was the fabrication of an entirely new hydrogen manufacturing unit. Both projects resulted in a strong feeling of accomplishment and allowed me to see projects through from early stages of planning, fabrication, and finally to feed in.

Download a copy from MTI CONNECT 2021, Issue 1.