A question and answer interview with Mark Dearman, Rubicon LLC General Manager and Operations Director for Huntsman Polyurethanes Americas
How did you become interested in your chosen career?
My father worked in the chemical industry for his entire career and served as an inspiration for my career choice. My family relocated to Gonzales from California in 1969 for a new job opportunity at a chemical plant in Donaldsonville, when I was just 2 years old. I was familiar with the chemical industry at an early age and was interested is what type of work my father did. I often made visits out to the plant site office with him on weekends, and always found the chemical plant environment very interesting. I always enjoyed math and science in school and quickly focused on chemical engineering as a career choice early in high school.
What do you enjoy most about your position, and what do you enjoy least?
What I enjoy the most about my current role is the opportunity to lead and manage such a talented and committed organization as we have at Rubicon. Our organization is composed of more than 600 full-time associates and contractors, working in harmony to achieve manufacturing excellence in all that they do, most importantly safety. Rubicon supplies chemicals to regions all around the world, and it’s a great feeling to know that our facility in Geismar is a world leader in the products we produce. It is incredibly rewarding to be in a position to lead and inspire people to achieve not only the corporation’s goals and objectives but also their own career development goals. I really enjoy the interaction with people across all levels of the organization. It is only through real personal interaction with your employees that you gain a sense of how well your organization is achieving its goals and objectives. If there is one aspect of my position that I enjoy less, it would be the amount of email handling that is required in the business world today. I am a strong proponent of using real human verbal communication, in person if possible or by phone, whenever there is any uncertainty or confusion on a subject, to avoid the unproductive email parade that generally follows.
What does a typical day consist of?
A typical day of mine begins with a 4:30 a.m. wakeup and trip to the health club for 5:30. I am a die-hard exercise fanatic and must begin my day with a rigorous cardio/training routine, whether on the road traveling or not, and even my family thinks I am a bit over the top. However, once you make this a part of your daily life, you realize it provides not only the physical benefits but also gives you a mental edge on the start of your day, thinking about your plan for the day while you work out. The one thing you should be selfish about is your own health and fitness, and doing it before everyone else wakes up is a plus. A typical day at the office may consist of meetings with staff members, routine visits to the control rooms and plant areas to check on plant operations, communication with our corporate and global business offices, and interaction with some of our key suppliers and partners in the area. My role also involves some routine travel to our global manufacturing sites in Europe and Asia and corporate office in Houston for meetings.
Is there a specific achievement that you are the most proud of?
From a personal perspective, I would say overcoming the loss of my mother to cancer at 16 years old was a defining moment in my life. Life can change on a dime and get serious very quickly for a teenager, and I was able to stay the course and succeed with my studies and career choice. My father was a true inspiration of strength during adversity. No one knows what life has in store for us at any moment in time, and hardships and adversity are certain to come throughout life, how you deal with it determines your ultimate success. Recently, I have been very proud of my involvement with COEA and the support of their Dancing For a Cause Event forthcoming on July 9th. This event has given me the opportunity to give back to the local community that supported me so well throughout my childhood. I am so proud of the Rubicon team and all of our local business partners and suppliers for their support of this worthy cause. We have truly made a difference in the lives of so many with mental and physical disabilities that depend on COEA for support and care. Learning to ballroom dance along the way has been an added bonus.
Any advice for someone wishing to follow in your footsteps?
The best advice I can give anyone is to approach life with a great attitude every day. Attitude is the little thing that makes a big difference. Be passionate about your career choice and put forth maximum effort to succeed along the way, everyday. Engineering and the chemical industry have been very good to me, and I would certainly recommend this field if the fit is right. I would also like to emphasize the need for good communication skills and the ability to convey your thoughts and ideas through conversation and presentations. We all live in the world of texting and email today, but in the business world you need to have the ability to sell yourself, and your ideas and thoughts to people by the direct route, conversation.