Chad Jennings shares challenges, opportunities of leading one of Golden Triangle’s biggest projects
Published 12:26 am Sunday, July 16, 2023
Chad Jennings knows Southeast Texas well.
He visited the Chevron Phillips Chemical plant in Port Arthur multiple times. He has also made numerous recent visits to Orange.
His Texas ties include a Master of Business Administration from Rice University and experience as a plant manager of Chevron Phillips Chemical’s facility in Pasadena, Texas.
Throw in a decade of experience in the Middle East at several stops, and you’ll find he is uniquely qualified to lead one of the largest projects in the Golden Triangle.
Jennings is the newly named plant manager of the Golden Triangle Polymers Company facility, a joint venture between Chevron Phillips Chemical and QatarEnergy.
That $8.5 billion facility is under construction along Highway 87 South in Orange. Startup is expected to occur in 2026.
Construction is expected to create 4,500 temporary jobs.
Once operational, the plant will produce Marlex® polyethylene and plans to employ more than 500 full-time workers.
When Port Arthur Newsmedia recently caught up with Jennings, he talked about how fortunate he feels to return to Texas.
“The thing I enjoy the most is the community engagement,” he said. “I had a chance to visit a stakeholder meeting with West Orange. I had a chance to visit with a ribbon cutting at our information center. I truly enjoyed the conversations and seeing the excitement about bringing this investment and facility to Orange. I see how it is kind of life-changing for them.”
Jennings wants to locate his family in Southeast Texas permanently this fall. He has already begun looking online at neighborhoods and for homes. That effort will intensify as the summer draws to a close.
The most exciting part in the project is his role guiding the plant launch from the ground up.
“This will be my fourth plant manager role, but it is the first time I have had the opportunity to be engaged this early in the process,” he said. “This time we get to onboard and hire the people who will run and maintain the plant operation. We get to develop the culture of the plant. That is just a great opportunity. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Bryan Canfield, Chevron Phillips Chemical senior vice president of manufacturing, previously said Jennings led one of the company’s largest manufacturing sites in the Middle East, where he and his team “achieved exceptional safety and operational results.”
Jennings has been lauded for his strong commitment to community and excellent leadership results.
According to Jennings, he plans to lean on his experience to help transform the construction site to a fully functioning and well-maintained facility, noting there are obvious challenges associated with front-end work.
“The magnitude of this one is so large,” he said. “I look at it and just think we have to have the right people on board to help us. We must continue hiring the right people, engaged in the community, to create opportunities for the folks who live in the Orange and Golden Triangle area. That will create opportunities for the business there to support us.”
Over the next 12 months, Jennings is focusing on his collaboration with the project team to make sure the project is progressing and all involved are maintaining their stakeholder accountability.
“I work with the project director to make sure I understand where they are at with each of the milestones,” he said. “Then, it’s looking at where we interface with our stakeholders, conversations with Qatar Energies, conversations with CP Chem leadership, because ultimately I report to the board of directors of Golden Triangle Polymers Company.”
All forecasted costs and schedules must be meet.
A lot of time will be spent on staffing and contractor onboarding.
The personnel count is expected to peak in late 2024 into 2025.
“We will be focused to make sure we will be prepared for that,” Jennings said, adding, “I want to spend quality time getting to know the various groups in the community and making sure we are supporting each other equally.”
Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes panews.com, The Port Arthur News and Greater Port Arthur The Magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com or 409- 721-2445.