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meet the boss: pasadena refinery boasts its first woman general manager

2 min read | march 06, 2023

Tifanie Steele, general manager of Chevron’s Pasadena, Texas, refinery.

During her childhood, Tifanie Steele moved throughout the U.S. six times as her father’s career progressed.

The nomadic lifestyle gave her something that served her career well: a love for chemistry developed among the numerous high schools that she attended and the ability to hit the ground running in new environments.

She is putting these strengths to use in her new role as general manager of Chevron’s Pasadena, Texas, refinery. She’s the first woman to hold the role.

“I’m not stressed out by new situations or meeting new people,” Steele said. “Because of the way I grew up, that piece is not scary or intimidating to me.”

why it matters

Steele is helping blaze the trail for other women in the industry.

Having held several roles at multiple Chevron sites, she has proven herself as a versatile employee with the skills, technical expertise and business savvy necessary to lead a refinery.

moving ahead

After nearly a decade and multiple roles at Chevron’s Richmond, California, refinery, Steele was offered promotions that required her to relocate, first to Chevron’s Salt Lake, Utah, refinery. While moving came naturally to Steele, it was new territory for her husband.

“That’s when it became interesting,” she said, recalling many candid family discussions. “We got to a point where we said, ‘Yes, let’s open up our aperture a bit.’”

view from the top

In 2020, Steele was off to Pasadena, Texas, to manage operations for Chevron’s newly acquired refinery. Alongside other managers, she assessed the refinery’s condition, identified areas of improvement and prioritized how to implement best Chevron practices.

Within a year, she was promoted to Chevron’s general manager for the office of the chairman, her first enterprise wide role.

“My entire background prior to that had been in our refineries,” she said. “It gave me a different perspective and appreciation for what the whole of Chevron is navigating and how manufacturing fits into the broader puzzle.”

unfinished business

Still, she had the lingering feeling that her work at the Pasadena refinery wasn’t finished. When she had the opportunity to return in January 2023 as GM, she took it.

Steele is now responsible for the safe and reliable operations of the entire refinery.

“I was very excited when the opportunity to come back to Pasadena materialized,” she said. “I felt like I had unfinished business here.”

leading the charge (and change)

One of Steele’s loftiest challenges will be to oversee Chevron’s Light Tight Oil (LTO) project, which will increase the amount of crude that can be processed in Pasadena by nearly 15%.

“I am excited about the LTO project because it allows Pasadena to fully align across Chevron’s enterprise,” Steele said. “Additionally, the project will enable lowering the permitted emissions of the refinery.”

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