Megan Alley Brings Perspective, Innovation to Process Engineering Team

Megan Alley

In her seven years working at the Domino® Sugar Baltimore Refinery, Senior Process Engineer Megan Alley has gained experience and a unique perspective that has helped her to not only develop a rewarding career but also take on the important role of training new engineers on every facet of the sugar refining process.

After earning her BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Megan joined our team in Baltimore as a Standards Engineer. In the years since, she has served as a Wash House supervisor and earned an MBA from Loyola University of Maryland. Today, she manages the Pan House, all while embracing her new training responsibilities and providing new engineers with direct supervision and support. 

“When I started, what I lacked the most was confidence,” said Megan. “I worked very closely with all of the operators, which really helped me with each of my roles within the plant. Each operator taught me a lot and always provided me with the information about what was happening during the shift.  I am very grateful for those relationships and experiences.”

Megan’s goal for new engineers is to provide them with the opportunity to learn quickly. 

“I want them to be able to troubleshoot, have confidence from the outset and enjoy the support of everyone around them,” said Megan, who believes she can be particularly supportive of the new female engineers at the refinery.

Megan meets bi-weekly with each of her engineers to check in, provide feedback and answer their questions. 

“I want them to know that I am here to support them and that the initiatives they are working on will make a difference no matter how small the task,” she said.

Megan worked with Baltimore Refinery Manager George Carter, R&T Process Engineering Manager Jose Perez, and colleagues from our Toronto Refinery to develop a template of everything a process engineer should know. 

“It includes everything from their responsibilities to lock out/tag out procedures to technical information and more,” she said. 

Megan initiated a 10-12 week training period for new engineers that starts with instruction in Safety and Quality. Engineers then spend two weeks in the Wash House, the Filter House and the Pan and Finishing houses. Megan also has engineers spend a few days in the lab so they can become familiar with the various tests that must be performed.

During the program, the engineers are given projects to work through in each house. At the conclusion of the training period, each engineer presents to senior leadership what they learned about safety, environmental compliance and quality. They also present on the projects they carried out in each house. 

“Megan is always pushing to know what we can do better and challenges the engineers to look critically not only at our operations but at the training program itself,” said Dave Schindler, Process Department Manager.

Megan says each member of the process engineering team is vital to the success of longer term initiatives. 

“We are stronger together than we are as individuals, and their strength and confidence is what will push the Process Department to not only be successful tomorrow but in five years from now as well,” she said. “I truly look forward to seeing what each one of them is working on and how they will change the process for the better.”

With the benefit of experience and a fresh perspective, Megan has made a fundamental change in how process engineers are assigned. Rather than being detailed to one house – Wash, Filter, Pan or Finishing – engineers are now given responsibility for different pieces of equipment across several houses, which fosters a better understanding of the entire Processing system and leads to better teamwork.

“We get better every day,” says Megan. “Every person who comes to work with us offers a different and valuable perspective that has helped us to operate more sustainably and effectively.”