Virtus Dynamica Chemical Engineering Student Award 2018
By Martin Berutti on 04.09.18
Mimic Simulation

On Wednesday, April 4, 2018, at the St. Louis section AIChE Meeting, we presented the Virtus Dynamica Chemical Engineering Student Award to recipients from Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri, Columbia, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Virtus Dynamica Chemical Engineering Award Winners 2018
Mart Berutti, Emerson; Tarique Ahmad, MS&T; Andrew Hoffman, Mizzou; James Weatherseed, Wash U; Zach Sample, Emerson

At the meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers - St. Louis section on April 4th, I had the honor of presenting this award to the 2018 winners. My comments from the evening are below.

It is good to be in the presence of fellow chemical engineers. It has been a busy year for the chemical and process industry. Oil has stabilized above $60 per barrel breathing life back into the US shale oil industry. Natural gas and light hydrocarbons feed stocks continue to be cheap, driving investment in petrochemical plants in NA that we have not seen in our careers. Life Sciences is booming with single product Biotech facilities being retooled for multi-product and small molecule continuous manufacturing the new rage. And all of these developments need chemical engineers.

And we have had a busy year in the process simulation business here in St. Louis. In case you did not know in May 2017, MYNAH Technologies was acquired by Emerson. This has been a busy year of integration into Emerson and forming a new Emerson Process Simulation Global Center of Excellence based in our Chesterfield office. On top of all the industry trends we already mentioned, Emerson sees the beginning of the Digital Transformation of the Process Industries. This transformation will take place in the adoption of 5 key competencies.

  1. Automation of the workflow and operation of our plants.
  2. Better decision support through data analytics
  3. Up skilling of the workforce. The day of the super operator is approaching.
  4. The adoption of mobility technology to the process industries.
  5. And digitally automated change management.

And the use of simulation is the foundational technology to make this change happen. We are starting to use the term Digital Twin to describe an exact replica of the plant control system with a dynamic simulation. And that foundational technology is what we are providing to the process industry at the Emerson Simulation Center of Excellence in Chesterfield.

Chemical engineers will be needed to lead this Digital Transformation. The chemical engineer of the future will need to understand, apply, and specify the technologies required for this transformation. And of course, she or he needs to be able to manage projects, understand process control and IT, work effectively with the labor force, and impact the plant or unit P&L. She or he needs to be a very talented, driven person. Like the three outstanding individuals we are going to recognize tonight.

The role of the chemical engineering departments in our local universities is essential to equip this next generation of industry leaders. We need these departments to grow and succeed if they are going to supply men and women to be future leaders in our companies.

We are very proud to sponsor the Virtus Dynamica Chemical Engineering Student Award at our three local excellent Chemical Engineering Departments, Missouri S&T, Mizzou, and Wash U. The award goes to the chemical engineering student with the highest overall GPA as a senior in each universities program, hence the Virtus, latin for excellence. Dynamica because we are a provider of dynamic simulation technology and we work in a very dynamic, exciting industry.

The recipients for the award for 2018 are:

  • James Weatherseed, Washington University in St. Louis,
  • Andrew Hoffman, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Tarique Ahmad , Missouri University of Science and Technology

On behalf of Emerson Automation Solutions, we want to thank AIChE for allowing us to sponsor this award and congratulate our three recipients for 2018.

I look forward to your comments, questions, or suggestions.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Mart Berutti, 04/9/18