2024 Oil and Gas Global Network of Events

Register Now for the STS AIChE January 11th 2024 Monthly Dinner Meeting – Houston

This Event Reminder is Sponsored by:

Mueller Environmental Designs

Please join the South Texas Section for our monthly workshop and dinner meeting at The Bougainvilleas, 12126 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77077 (map) The keynote presentation for the STS-AIChE dinner will be delivered by a panel of experts consisting of AIChE Fellows Billy Bardin, Lori McDowell and Syamal Poddar. The moderator will be AIChE Fellow Andreas Matzakos.

5:30PM – 6:30PM Pre-Dinner Workshop (1 PDH)

6:00PM – 6:45PM Social Networking Time

6:45PM – 7:30PM Dinner & Announcements

7:30PM – 8:30PM Keynote Panel on Leadership Development with AIChE Fellows (1 PDH)

Keynote Presentation (1 PDH Available)


Leadership Development


The purpose of the panel is to educate the STS membership, especially the young professionals, about the traits of leadership, and how to develop them in their early career. Our world and our industry are in need of leaders at all levels to achieve better collaboration and working on the right problems facing society and humanity. Leaders can be nurtured by proper mentorship, training and practice.

The panelists will expand on their view of how they developed and they applied leadership in their careers and why this helped them achieve more. Moreover, they will explain how they share this acquired skill by helping the new generation of engineers to achieve their leadership potential.

About the Panelists

  • Panelists:
    • Billy Bardin, Ph.D. – Director, Dow Chemical and 2023 AIChE President
    • Lori McDowell, Ph.D. – Strategic-Partner, Schooley Mitchell and AIChE Fellows Council Chair 2023
    • Syamal Poddar, Ph.D. – President, Poddar Associates
  • Moderator: Andreas Matzakos, Ph.D. AIChE STS Past-Chair (2023)


Billy B. Bardin, Ph.D., P.E., 2023 AIChE President

Dr. Billy B. Bardin, PE, is the 2023 AIChE National President and the Global Climate Transition Director at Dow. He joined Union Carbide/Dow in 2000 and has held global leadership roles in research, development, and manufacturing. He developed and commercialized technologies including catalytic processes for feedstocks/derivatives, processes for olefins production, and digital manufacturing. Dr. Bardin created new approaches for promoting technical excellence and fostering career development.

Dr. Bardin served on AIChE’s Board of Directors (2017–2019) and chaired the Audit Committee. He also served on the Career and Education Operating Council (CEOC) and the managing board of the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS). He is a Trustee of the AIChE Foundation, a leader of the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division, and a member of the South Texas and Eastern North Carolina sections. He is a leader in the Licensing and Professional Development Committee and the Disabilities Outreach and Inclusion Community. Dr. Bardin was the founding Chair of AIChE’s RAPID Manufacturing Institute. He is a Fellow and Life Member of AIChE.

Dr. Bardin holds a BS ChE from North Carolina State University (NCSU) and MS/PhD ChE from the University of Virginia (UVA). He is a Professional Engineer in West Virginia. Dr. Bardin is a leader on academic and industrial boards at Purdue Univ., NCSU, UVA, the MxD manufacturing institute and the Journal of Advanced Manufacturing & Processing. He has been recognized numerous times, most recently as a Visionary Leader by the National Association of Manufacturers.

Lori McDowell, Ph.D.

Lori McDowell is currently CEO of Reimagine U Strategies and a Strategic-Partner with Schooley Mitchell. Lori also serves as the Chief Commercial Officer at Refinery Calculator Inc., an energy market intelligence and consulting company, where she leads the sales team and is helping the company grow.

Lori is passionate about helping individuals and businesses succeed. At Reimagine U Strategies, Lori provides training, speaking and coaching to help high achieving individuals get past any roadblocks and find fulfillment in their careers and their life. She is author of The Reinvention Mindset, to be released in late Spring 2024. At Schooley Mitchell, Lori works with businesses to help then reduce expenses and optimize their operations. Together Schooley Mitchell and Reimagine U Strategies can be a one-stop shop for business optimization and self-improvement, helping both companies and individuals. Lori is also committed to working with nonprofits, and supporting IDEAL Initiatives.

Before stepping out as an entrepreneur, Lori worked for Matheson, Praxair and WR Grace. Lori has worked in business development, technical sales, marketing, and R&D. Lori is on the Board of The Hall Group, Inc. and the nonprofit, TENEF USA.

Lori received a BS in ChE from University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Environmental Eng from CalTech and a PhD in ChE from University of Delaware.

Lori has been active in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers since 1992, where she held numerous roles including serving on the Board of Directors. She is the organizer of The Leadership Development Topical Conference and a frequent presenter and she is the Past-Chair of the Fellows Council. Lori is a former President of Women’s Energy Network (WEN), is on AFPM’s Women in Industry Steering Committee and previously served on the Board of National Business Development Association.

Lori is also active in community events and is a member of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region, Greater East Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and Partnership Lake Houston. She loves sports, travel, working out and the beach.

Syamal Poddar, Ph.D.

Syamal Poddar is the Founding President of the consulting company, Poddar & Associates, consulting nationally and internationally. His 40+ years career includes working for Exxon and Bechtel Corporation, with diversified management and global professional & leadership responsibilities.

Besides authoring close to 50 technical papers, Syamal has made numerous technical and business presentations nationally and internationally, organized & chaired many conferences and received several awards and recognitions.  He is an advisory board member of three Hydrocarbon Processing’s conferences.

Besides being an active member of the STS for many years where Syamal served as STS – AIChE Chair Elect in 2015, 2016 Chair, and 2017 Past Chair. He has served as an OTC Volunteer on behalf of STS – AIChE for many years.  Syamal is a Fellow of the Institute, a member of Fellows Council, and served as the chair of the Fellows Council.  He held practically all leadership positions for F&PD and is a past director of the Management Division, member of Environmental Division and Societal Impact Operating Council of American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).  He is a member of the Foundation Board of Trustees.  Syamal earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of Pennsylvania and is a PE registered in Texas. He also received the 2023 STS Distinguished Service Award.

Andreas N. Matzakos, Ph.D.

Andreas Matzakos is a recognized industry leader with strong track record on R&D program management, product development and novel technology deployment in Energy and Chemicals R&D. He is an AIChE Fellow and the past-chair of the South Texas Section. His has 30+ year experience in Process Development and Engineering, Catalysis and Reaction Engineering, Upstream/ Downstream Facilities. He is specialized in process modeling, optimization and design of Specialty Chemicals, Fuel Decarbonization, Gas Conversion, Improved Oil Recovery, and Water Treatment plants. He has developed and deployed many new processes in the above areas. He has passion for safety, health, environment, sustainability and transition to decarbonized energy sources. Before retiring from Shell in 2023 he held the position of Academic Partnerships Manager in Houston, Texas. In that role he developed long-term partnerships with academic and third-party R&D providers in the US, pursuing cutting edge technology development that aimed to solve challenging energy problems.

Andreas has led numerous R&D Teams, HS&E committees, project engineering teams and he participated in numerous joint industry committees, including the RPSEA consortium and the AIChE RAPID Institute. He has served as adjunct professor at the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department of Rice University and he been awarded 8 US patents.

Andreas received a Diploma of ChE from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and a Ph.D. in ChE from Rice University in Houston, Texas. He enjoys cycling, swimming, travel, reading and photography.

Pre-Dinner Workshop (1 PDH Available)


Problem Solving for Competitive Advantage


As engineers we face three broad classes of problems.  Type 1 problems are Inspection problems. We know the problem and we know the solution. Type 2 problems are engineering problems. We know the problem and we know how to get the solution. Type 3 problems are Innovation problems. We may not fully understand the problem, the known solutions are insufficient or there are no known solutions. Type 3 problems are the minority of problems faced but solution of Type 3 problems often offers opportunity for breakthroughs. I was blessed to work with many very creative people and a number of these people seemed to have a natural ability to solve Type 3 Problems.  Over the years I have studied how naturally creative people come up with innovative solutions to Type 3 Problems and I have developed a structured process for solution of Type 3 problems.  I have applied this approach to a number of common business problems including Product Development, Product Offerings, Manufacturing Process Improvement, Business Process Improvement, Business Strategy, and Patent Development.  This presentation will present the structured process for generating ideas to solve Type 3 problems including a couple of examples.  If desired, attendees will be given free software to assist in structured brainstorming.

About the Speaker

Peter Hanik, MBA, P.E.

Most recently Pete was President, Technology at Reliance Industries, Mumbai, where he led research and development programs in refining, petrochemicals and polymers with a staff of about 300 professionals.  Prior to that, Pete was Senior Vice President of Technology, (Research & Development, Quality and Health Safety & Environmental and e-Business) at Millennium Chemicals, President and CEO of Millennium Petrochemicals, Vice President Chemicals & Supply Chain at Quantum Chemical, Vice President Reengineering and Information Systems at Quantum Chemical, Director Applied Research & Technical Service at Quantum Chemical, Regional Sales Manager at Northern Petrochemical, Engineering Manager at Northern Petrochemical and Production Superintendent at Northern Petrochemical.  Pete is President and founder of Pretium Innovation specializing in intellectual property and team-based innovation systems to create sustainable value.

Pete holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Chicago.  Pete has served the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers Association (AFPM) as a member of Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Steering Committee, Petrochemical Committee (Chairman), and Program Chairman for the 2002 International Petrochemical Conference.  Pete has served as a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Industrial Advisory Board 2002 – 2004.  Pete is a Registered Professional Engineer (Nebraska).