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Lashier urges chemical engineers to embrace change for sustainable future

NEW ORLEANS — Phillips 66’s mission of providing energy and improving lives will require constant change, President and CEO Mark Lashier told a gathering of more than 1,000 chemical engineers.

Delivering the keynote speech at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting and 20th Global Congress on Process Safety, Lashier said that change should be seen in the context of what a recent Harvard Business Review article called “regeneration.”

“While regeneration is part of natural life, it often feels unnatural in business,” said Lashier. “That shouldn’t be the case. We should think of change as something that we’re part of, not something being done to us.”

Lashier was honored just prior to his remarks with the AIChE Government and Industry Leaders, or AGILE, Award. The award is given annually to individuals whose impact has made a unique difference in the marketplace or global community.

His remarks came as Phillips 66 navigates the energy “trilemma” of security, affordability and sustainability. To meet this challenge, Lashier said the industry must take a two-track approach: make fossil fuels cleaner and develop renewable energy in ways that make economic sense.

“We have to push the bounds of alternative energy while lowering the carbon footprint of the energy we need today,” he said.

None of this will be possible without safety, said Lashier. “Creating the future of energy and fostering a culture of problem solving and resiliency won’t happen if our processes and policies don’t keep people and our planet safe,” he said.

Lashier said a culture of safety must empower people to do three things: be aware when something isn’t safe, stop work and bring forward solutions. Indeed, he said, an engaged and empowered workforce is critical not only for safety, but also the energy transition.

“Let’s harness our collective energy and create meaningful change,” he said. “As I like to say to our employees, full speed ahead.”