A day in life of Wood project engineer, Carol Schmidt, is filled with meetings, project tasks, helping her alma mater and chemical engineering society, and most importantly, her husband and their two boys. The path that led her to where she currently is today was not always smooth sailing. Although, she does bring grit and tenacity to every role, task and project that she is on.
On 6 June, Carol was awarded the 2019 Distinguished Young Alumni Award by the University of Houston (UH) Cullen College of Engineering.
As a former president for the South Texas Section of AIChE, the Global Home of Chemical Engineers, current PE review class teacher and student session leader at various events and conferences, Carol would seem to us all, as the clear front runner for the award.
“My husband, a mechanical engineer, with the help of a few UH faculty and alumni, nominated me for this award. I had no idea and was completely shocked,” Carol said. “I did not do anything to be recognized. I did it all because I truly enjoy my profession and want to help others. I want them to be engaged, interested, and invested in the field. UH has contributed to this in many ways by providing me an excellent education, academic minds to challenge me, and the best part, the people I have met along the way.”
The Engineering Alumni Awards program was established in 1987 to recognize alumni, faculty, and friends of the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering and the Engineering Alumni Association for significant contributions to society and the profession. The recipients are honored at the annual engineering alumni awards gala.
The gala presented six awards and in lieu of an acceptance speech; the winners were showcased in a video, where they discuss their career, contributions, and professional experience.
Carol did not set out to be a Chemical Engineer. She initially had her mind set on being a multi-discipline engineer, like her father.
“I wanted to major in mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering. I like the science of engineering in general and wanted to be like my Dad –proficient in it all,” Carol said. “Eventually, I decided on chemical engineering, the most complex to grasp and not for the faint of heart. I guess you can say that I always challenged myself to work hard and not take the easiest path, unless it was the right path.”
After graduation from UH in 2007, her first job was as a process engineer at the engineering firm, WS Nelson. After almost five years, she transitioned to a process engineering role at Jacobs, where she was also a facilities engineer. In 2015, Carol tried something new by applying her industry knowledge in the corporate side through sales and business development, as a technical sales manager for a graphite heat exchange company, SGL Group, where she developed new business and managed client relationships, among other duties.
In 2017, Carol joined Wood as a project engineer in the Americas upstream/offshore business. Her first major role was a chemical injection package engineer for a subsea tie-back. During the acquisition of Wood Group and Amec Foster Wheeler, she joined the Strategy & Development integration team, obtaining a deeper knowledge in business collaboration and enjoyed the strategy and teamwork involved in bringing two large organizations together. After the task completion, she transitioned back into project engineering and has worked on many notable offshore projects for major oil & gas operators, which included process/piping interface on a concrete gravity structure platform and completions support for the topsides of a drilling platform. Her other daily tasks currently include leading and supporting a team that verifies vendor documentation is in accordance with project specifications, leading and supporting another team that is consolidating commissioning package boundaries and performing a gap analysis, ensuring seamless communication between her teams and the other completions teams, reporting information to clients, and setting up vendor lunch and learns for the Project Engineering Department.
Last year, with the support of her leadership, Tony Barreras, and colleagues, Carol obtained her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. This year, Carol’s personal goal is to learn MIG and TIG welding. She greatly appreciates the support and guidance given by her department manager, Daniel McInnis.
“I have worked with some great people at Wood and other organizations. Having previously worked with Kent at Jacobs (Kent McAllister, ASA president of Capital Projects, Upstream & Midstream), when I heard he was here at Wood, I knew I had joined the right organization,” Carol said. “Many colleagues and leadership have continually encouraged me to take the next steps in my career and professional path. Most notably, Sandy Clancy has been a huge proponent for my developmental aspirations and stretching my capabilities. He truly embodies the finest qualities of a team leader.”
Recently, Carol was nominated by her colleagues for an Inspire Award, a Wood global recognition awards program to highlight employees who go above and beyond to inspire their coworkers. She has been nominated in the Outstanding Conduct and Inspiring Teamwork categories.
SVP of business development, Phillip Luna, heard about Carol in a team meeting. A proud parent of two UH alumni, Phillip was impressed by Carol’s achievement and wanted be a part of the celebration by organizing a table of her colleagues at the awards gala.
“This is a wonderful accomplishment by Carol, and I am proud to have her at Wood,” Phillip said. “As soon as I heard about it, I knew that myself and other leaders would be honored to be there to support her outstanding achievement. Carol is truly distinguished in all that she does here at Wood, and I am very happy that she has been recognized by her peers for her hard work.”
“I am very honoured and humbled by this award and blown away by the support of those around me. I have always tried to put my best foot forward. Whether it was my Dad’s inspiration or my own grit, I will constantly push to do my best, educate myself, and help others,” Carol said.
“How can you not put your best foot forward when you care about people? I truly want to help people be their best, both professionally and personally. The more people like this, the better our industry will become. Go Coogs!”