Mark Northcutt – Plant manager, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery
I’ve always enjoyed math and science, so pursuing engineering seemed like a natural fit. But more than that, I like to be in a position to make a difference. The energy industry literally fuels the world’s economy—so where better to be able to make a difference—especially for someone growing up in West Texas.
If I look at recent events, I’d have to say the successful completion of a $500M clean fuels investment at our ExxonMobil refinery in Sriracha, Thailand. In conjunction with a refinery-wide turnaround, this project was a major event, especially for a smaller site like Sriracha. But with the exemplary commitment from the local employees and a lot of hard work, we were able to make it a success.
My very first job was hoeing weeds in cotton fields. I remember getting paid $1/hr. It was hard work and it was hot, but as a kid, it was nice to get some money in my pocket. On the professional side, I worked each summer during college for Mobil Oil out in the West Texas oil fields. When I graduated, I went to work for Exxon at its refinery outside of Houston. It was a bit ironic, of course, when Exxon and Mobil later merged.
Be yourself. Don’t try to live up to other people’s expectations. Instead, live up to your own.
At one point in high school and college, I thought I might go to medical school and become a surgeon.
When I was a senior in college, I found out that I had cancer. I had been married for one year—to a nurse, no less, which turned out to be a big blessing. Despite the surgeries, radiation, and chemo, I was able to finish college and start my career with Exxon. Here’s where I have to mention my loyalty to Exxon. I already had a job offer from them when I received my diagnosis, so I told them that I didn’t know if I would be able to graduate. Their response was “don’t worry about it.” They said my job was there waiting for me whenever I was able to finish my degree.
I’m an engineer, so I like facts and figures and solving problems. So the one thing I would do differently is to focus more on the people I’ve met through my career and on developing more friendships along the way.
Whatever you do in life, make a difference!
I’m currently reading a book that compares the biblical account of the world’s creation with scientific facts from geology. My sons are in high school and I’m trying to help them understand truth from both perspectives. I’m also a big C. S. Lewis fan and more recently read Mere Christianity with my sons.
I find historical figures more intriguing, so I would probably invite the Apostle Paul, Abraham Lincoln, and Winston Churchill—all three are individuals who faced great adversity with courage and integrity.
In my younger days, people told me that I resembled Hugh Grant.
Spend time with my family.
Most recently, I just moved back to the States and bought a new truck. Prices are certainly higher than when I left five years ago!
Spending time with my family and being involved with my church.
When I lived here 10 years ago, I had a home about 20 miles north of Baton Rouge in the woods. It was wonderful—a real escape to the simplicity of nature.
I don’t really watch any TV shows. But I enjoy basketball, so I really enjoy March Madness!
I’m not much into gadgets. But I’ve really enjoyed the rear-view camera in my truck. It makes backing into a parking space very easy.
I don’t know what I would do without my wife. She’s the best. I have truly never met anyone in my life who has a bigger heart for other people. She keeps me plugged in to what is really meaningful in this life.
I’m excited about the opportunities ahead. As everyone has heard, the outlook for low natural gas prices is fueling new investment in Baton Rouge and the whole region. My hope is that this will spur growth in Baton Rouge to provide good career opportunities for our young people. But more than that, my greatest hope is that our community’s educational system can be improved so that all of our children have the opportunity to succeed. You used the word “hope”, and I think it is the reality of hope that will make the greatest difference. ExxonMobil is committed to investing in education, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.
I’d like our communities to remain safe, and hope we can support crime-fighting efforts across the city.