Women in Industry Conference Turnout Exceeds Expectations


Some 468 area women packed into the North Ballroom of Galveston’s Hotel Galveston on Friday, Feb. 19, eager to learn about careers in the petrochemical and industrial trades industries.

The number far exceeded the expectations of conference planners for this first-ever event.

“It told us there are many capable women interested in well-paying, challenging careers in what were once male-dominated industries,” said Debi Jordan, spokesperson for the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), which sponsored the event, along with several major industrial partners.

“Women came to learn about careers as process operators, instrumentation technicians, analytic techs, as well as welders, crane operators, electricians, and other skilled craft positions,” Jordan said. “They have read that industry is looking to hire more women, and they are stepping forward.”

During the morning, participants heard from women already working in the field. In the afternoon, they heard how to prepare for those careers, with information about how to train, network, interview, and succeed on the job.

Galena Park students

Students from Galena Park ISD pose after the Women in Industry Conference outside Hotel Galvez.


NASA’s Ginger Kerrick was the keynote speaker. Kerrick is a Flight Director in the Mission Control Center at the NASA Johnson Space Center, who has, to date, supported 13 International Space Station and five joint shuttle missions.

Her topic, “The Right Stuff,” echoed a major theme of the day-long event: that women with resolve, preparation and perseverance can succeed in any career they pursue.

Sponsors of the event were the area’s nine community colleges and CCPI members: Alvin Community College, Brazosport College, College of the Mainland, Galveston College, Houston Community College, Lee College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College, and Wharton County Junior College.

Industry sponsors included ExxonMobil, Jacobs, LyondellBasell, Zachry, Chevron Phillips, Covestro, INEOS, Noltex, and Occidental Chemical.

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