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Bruce Chinn
Bruce Chinn '79 | Contributed by Bruce Chinn

The Texas A&M University College of Engineering is proud to celebrate with Bruce Chinn ’79 (bachelor’s in chemical engineering) as he accepts his election to vice president of the board of trustees at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Foundation. Originally from Edna, Texas, Chinn’s prestigious career has taken him all over the United States, Central America and Europe. Since graduating, Chinn began working at DuPont before joining Chevron in 2006. He now serves as the president of Chevron Oronite Company LLC.

The Office of Alumni Relations spoke with Chinn to discuss his accomplishments and offer advice to young engineers. 

Q: You graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1979, what made you choose this degree?

A: I was fortunate to get early exposure to chemistry and physics. One of my high school teachers took a group of us to a Texas A&M career day my freshman year, and I ended up going back the next three years after that. I remember a liquid-liquid extraction column demonstration in the Zachry Engineering Building that really piqued my interest in chemical engineering as a career.

Q: What were some early struggles you faced in your career?

A: If there’s a piece of advice I can give young engineers, it’s to fully appreciate the importance of communicating your contributions and impact, both orally and written. I didn’t necessarily see the value of that when I was beginning my professional career, but I learned quickly that I need those skills to thrive in all of the positions I’ve held.

Early in my career, I was oftentimes the only African American engineer in the room. Those early experiences helped me to learn how to connect with many people and find role models and coaches in unexpected places.

Q: What has been your favorite position to hold in your career? 

A: It’s a close race between my current position as president of Chevron’s Oronite organization and my previous role as general manager of Chevron’s Pascagoula Refinery.

In Oronite, I enable and lead a global business driven by 2,000 employees in 14 countries. It’s a unique opportunity to work across the entire value chain: research and development, manufacturing, supply chain, and sales and marketing. The culmination of my varied career led to a role like this and I couldn’t be happier.

Q: Could you tell me about your involvement with the AIChE Foundation and your upcoming role as vice-chair of their board of trustees?

A: Years ago, I belonged to a local AIChE chapter and then became inactive for a while, but I was invited to join the industry and corporate council about five years ago. I learned about some of the initiatives that AIChE supports around diversity and inclusion, and recently was honored to join the board of trustees for the AIChE Foundation.

I’m still learning about my role on the board of trustees, but I’m very excited about getting involved in the many areas that the foundation supports, including the recognition and development of professionals in industry and in academia.

Q: Have you returned to campus? If so, do you enjoy visits back to College Station?

A: Yes, I have returned to campus and I served on the advisory council for the chemical engineering department for several years. I’m now in an emeritus role with the council. My daughter earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M. I’m a loyal Aggie fan and I’ve attended lots of football games over the years since graduating. When I can’t be there in person, I’m cheering the team on in front of my TV or iPad.

Q: What advice do you have for engineering students or recent graduates? 

A: I encourage them to continually pursue excellence in our field. Chemical engineering provides a solid foundation that enables an individual to contribute to society, both professionally and personally. Look at your career as a journey of continuous learning, and be open to sharing your insights with others. AIChE offers many opportunities for the exchange of knowledge and experiences among our fellow (chemical engineers). Take advantage of that.

Q: You have quite a few accomplishments. What are you most proud of?

A: My wife Sandra (class of 1980) and I raised three kids who have become responsible, contributing adults, that’s what I’m most proud of in my life.

Office of Alumni Relations

The Texas A&M College of Engineering is proud of our former students, like Bruce Chinn, who display Aggie core values such as excellence, selfless service and loyalty. If you know an Aggie who is celebrating an accomplishment and would like them to be recognized by the college, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations.