Photo of Adriana Velasquez, senior technical service engineer specializing in rotomolding.

Meet Our Pro

Adriana Velasquez

Technical Service Engineer | Rotomolding

With the opening of its new polyethylene plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, right around the corner, Shell Polymers has been hiring a team of industry experts, aka Polymer Pioneers and Polymer Pros, who have a proven track record in polyethylene. Senior Technical Service Engineer Adriana Velasquez shares about her role at Shell Polymers, her career journey, and reveals her top four rotational molding technical tips.

A Day-in-the-Life of a Senior Technical Service Engineer

As Senior Technical Service Engineer at Shell Polymers, Adriana will help lead the development of support solutions, software, and architecture for the Applications Hall. This work will help the hall serve as the technology hub for the Shell Polymers’ business and offer customers a place to collaborate with in-house experts when the plant starts up.

While the applications hall is under construction, Adriana is working hard to make sure Shell Polymers has the right product offering to serve our customers needs. Adriana explained, “Most of my day is spent talking to our customers and understanding what technical issues they might be experiencing, answering their questions, and running trials and tests to make sure we formulate the right resins to address their needs.”

In addition to her work at the plant, Adriana is also Shell’s representative in external standards, certification and public safety organizations. Involved associations include The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and industry organizations such as the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) where Adriana serves as the Vice Chair of the Power and Communications division and also serves as the Marketing Chair for the Drainage division. She is also the Technical Committee Vice-Chair of the Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association (PPFA), in addition to serving as the Co-Vice-Chair for the B1800 Division of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and on the Education and Technical Committees for The Association of Rotational Molders (ARM).

“A deep understanding of our customers’ goals is vital to enabling them to achieve their objectives”

Adriana Velasquez

Advocate for Diversity In STEM Careers

In addition to her involvement in industry organizations, Adriana also represents Shell Polymers by speaking to the next generation of students through partnerships with nonprofits like Great Minds. She also serves on the Pennsylvania College of Technology Advisory Board.

Learn more about how Shell Polymers is supporting STEM education programs in Beaver County

“As a guest speaker, I can also be a role model and inspire students to be confident in their choices and in themselves.”

“It’s a passion of mine to help prepare younger generations to pursue careers in STEM,” she says. “As a guest speaker, I can also be a role model and inspire students to be confident in their choices in themselves. Helping them see their own possibilities can be just the encouragement they need.”

Adriana is also an active member of the Hispanic, LGBT, and women’s Employee Resource groups and is also a member of the D&I council for the Monaca site. She explains the importance of active inclusion to achieve diversity of thought in her personal and work life, and how her collegiate experience has helped her be a better team member.

Adriana grew up in Colombia, and her parents got divorced before she finished high school. Adriana saw her mom struggled financially to raise her and her two sisters as a single mom. Despite the difficulties and knowing that going to college would be a challenge, that is exactly what Adriana set her mind to do. Unfortunately, good quality education is not cheap in Colombia and at the time there were no loans that would cover 100% of the tuition fees. Adriana got accepted in the best engineering university in the country which also happens to be the most expensive one and she knew nothing would stop her from getting her degree in Chemical Engineering.

Today, Adriana is a proud alumna of Los Andes University in Colombia, South America, Adriana’s journey to get her degree in chemical engineering wasn’t always easy. Even though she was working nights and weekends, finances were still tight. In addition to that, some of the classes for her degree were taught in English – a second language for Adriana – making it harder to keep up.

She recalls, “All the books were written in English and although I bought the translated textbooks in Spanish, they were not completely aligned with the books my teachers used… Every task took me so much longer than it did other students. I was exhausted and I knew I wasn’t learning as much as I could with all the additional distractions.”

Midway through the program, Adriana decided to study English abroad in England before returning to finish her degree. With hard work and dedication, she achieved her goal, but her trip abroad ended up teaching her so much more than English.

“I learned that there are people from different countries who, in addition to speaking different languages, also have different cultural backgrounds. I learned to listen to others, understand where they come from, and why they see things the way they do.”

Adriana explains, “While studying abroad, I learned that there are people from different countries who, in addition to speaking different languages, also have different cultural backgrounds. I learned to listen to others, understand where they come from, and why they see things the way they do. Most importantly, I learned that regardless of our outward appearance, diversity of thought is important. This diversity not only makes my daily conversations more interesting, it also enriches the way I think and the way I approach my work and personal life.”

Technical Expertise Provides An Unrivaled Customer Experience

A deep understanding of our customers’ goals is vital to enabling them to achieve their objectives. In her role at Shell Polymers, Adriana meets with customers frequently to learn about their processes, what they are working on, and what their goals are. Then, she gives them a realistic timeline to address their issues or projects and guarantee on-time delivery.

Adriana’s Top Four Rotomolding Tips

  • 1. Take care when you transport resin from silos.

    If there are too many 90° elbows, the resin may develop “tails,” “angel hair,” or what some people call “bird’s nests,” but these can be avoided with proper control of the equipment and lines used to move the resin.

  • 2. Select your additive package carefully.

    People need to remember that not every additive package will give you everything you need. Too much of one additive can affect the product attributes conferred by others. Therefore, select an additive package that meets your needs and maximizes your product’s key attributes.

  • 3. Optimize your water-to-air ratio during cooling.

    It’s always better to use water and air mist during rotational molding for faster cooling, but don’t add too much water because it may act as an insulator and thus increase the cooling time and overall cycle time.

  • 4. Run thickness experiments when using a new mold.

    During rotational molding, the thickness will help to determine the optimum major and minor axis speeds and ratios.