Chemicals play a key role in today’s high-tech world. The chemical industry is linked to every technologically advanced industry, and only a handful of the goods and services we enjoy on a daily basis would exist without essential chemical products. Furthermore, chemicals are a big business in Texas; where the state’s chemical complex is the largest in the world. The industry provides jobs for more than 85,000 Texans, and the state’s chemical products are shipped worldwide at a value of $15 billion dollars annually.The use of chemicals is a two-edged sword. Safe use creates a healthier economy and a higher standard of living. Unsafe use threatens our lives, our businesses and ultimately our world. For this reason, working and living safely with chemicals are the ultimate focus of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center.
In Memory of Mary Kay O’Connor and Dr. Sam Mannan
The Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center was established in 1995 in memory of Mary Kay O’Connor. Ms. O’Connor was an Operations Superintendent who was killed in an explosion on October 23, 1989 at the Phillips Petroleum Complex in Pasadena, TX. Ms. O’Connor graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in Chemical Engineering and from the University of Houston-Clear Lake with an MBA.
From 1997-2018, Dr. Sam Mannan, a world-renowned expert in process safety, was the founding director of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center. After his passing in September 2018, the Center continues to fulfill his legacy as a driving force behind process safety education and awareness by its students and in Industry.