3 questions for Marianne Richard, Technical Service Engineer at Axens 20.02.2018

3 questions for Marianne Richard, Technical Service Engineer at Axens

A chemistry major at Kingston University, Marianne Richard started her career as a Sales Planner in the refining catalyst industry before specializing as a Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Consultant in charge of technical assistance and catalyst technical offers.
She joined Axens in 2011 and has been working as a Technical Service Engineer in both the Catalysts and Adsorbents and the Process Licensing Business Units. Her expertise ranges from naphtha hydrotreatment, Prime-G+™ and coker naphtha to isomerization and reforming units


1. Can you tell us about your job?

I am a Technical Service Engineer. In the oil & gas industry, technical service engineers assist refiners from unit commissioning until the unit is in operation and performances are achieved. So it involves a wide range of activities from equipment inspections to performance tests when the unit has been started up.

As a technical service engineer, I follow the unit through all its life, trying to optimize its performances at all times and assisting the customer when troubleshooting is required.

2. What do you like the most about your job?

In my previous job, I was doing technical assistance for a refining catalyst company. Working as a technical service engineer at Axens enabled me to discover all start-up activities and to further explore the process aspects of this position.

I also really appreciate the relationship with customers on a daily basis: meeting with operators and working with them, with the support of Axens’ process teams and experts, to achieve a common goal is very rewarding. I like the fact that we provide tailor-made assistance to each Axens customer, and that this cooperation keeps going long after the start-up phase.

This leads me to my next point: routine is definitely not part of the job! Every mission is unique as we always have to adapt not only to the specificities of the unit to be started up but also to customers and their culture.

Indeed, I spend most of my time abroad, working in the field. As we usually stay at the same place for long periods, we can really discover the life in sometimes very remote places: for example, once in Russia, I was able to attend the local ceremony of Epiphany. I discovered a lot of different cultures during my missions and every one of them is an opportunity to learn and grow.

3. Do you have 3 words to describe your experience working at Axens?

Skillfulness: My job requires me to be open to a wide variety of subjects and to be able to switch from one expertise to another, because we have to overcome all issues that may arise during the start-up process. Professionally speaking, I have learned a lot at Axens on a wide variety subjects: mechanical, process, analytical methods, instrumentation, equipment, etc.

Challenge: all start-ups encounter some technical issues. Our challenge is to find solutions to ensure the unit is going to operate smoothly for a long period of time – my job requires being resourceful on a daily basis.
Cultural differences can also be very challenging and developing adaptive skills is key for success. As a woman, cultural differences can be even more difficult to overcome in an industry where women are quite rare.
All these challenges make it even more rewarding when the goal is achieved!

Team work: a successful start-up is not only the result of good work between the start-up team and the customer. It is also the result of good cooperation between many departments at the Axens head office and affiliates. For instance, we regularly exchange information with Axens’ process department and experts with whom communication is very important, at every stage of a project. Last but not least, I also really like the fact that there is a “community” of Technical Services Engineers at Axens – we learn a lot from one another!

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