Eric MacKender, a 2000 graduate in chemical engineering, was honored at the 2018 Oregon Stater Awards, held Feb. 22 in Portland, where he joined the Council of Early Career Engineers.
MacKender says it was thanks to prompting from his high school chemistry teacher that he became interested in chemical engineering, and he selected Oregon State after being awarded a scholarship and admission to the Honors College.
When it came time to write the thank you letter for the scholarship, he was surprised to learn that there wasn’t anyone to thank. The scholarship was a generous endowment created from the estate of a woman who valued education.
“I always remembered that,” MacKender said, “and I started giving back to Oregon State after graduation. It wasn’t much at first, but slowly it increased over time.”
MacKender, an Honors College graduate, says the program influenced him a great deal.
“The honors program opened my eyes to more than just engineering,” he said, “and I really benefited from the colloquial courses, seeing the passion of my professors, and from the opportunities to learn about many different topics.”
Chevron recruited MacKender directly out of school for its specialty chemical business, and he has worked there for 18 years. In that time, he’s had an opportunity to work in many different parts of the business and see how they are all connected.
“It’s been fun commercializing new chemistry and bringing new products to market,” he said.
The Chevron Oronite plant produces quality additives that improve the performance of fuels and lubricants. As technical manager, MacKender oversees all the engineering functions and the quality control laboratory. MacKender enjoys helping others to thrive.
“I’ve had a chance to lead a lot of great people, mentor them, watch them grow, and help them get promoted to bigger and broader roles. My wife and I both value the importance of education, and we donate our time and money to help others in this way,” he said.
MacKender serves on the Board of Regents, the development advisory group for the Honors College at Oregon State.