• 2018 HENAAC Luminary •
The role of a Facility Engineer for the Shell Pipeline division is sufficiently challenging in normal times. These comparatively routine days and weeks demand of Ruben A. Cheng Garcia the mere management of a budget of over $5 million and the application of expertise in business and technical areas that cover design & project engineering, contracted services, equipment specification, selection and maintenance, and the implementation of new technology for the Gulf of Mexico Facility Engineering Team.
Things get even more challenging, however, when natural disasters disrupt services and destroy facilities. During these trying times, Mr. Cheng and his team are tasked with protecting assets and safely restarting and bringing multiple pipelines, tank farms, and facilities back into operation. In the wake of the Category 4 Hurricane Harvey that hit Houston last year, that’s exactly what he had to do—all while having to simultaneously evacuate his family from flood waters in his home. Mr. Cheng displayed remarkable discipline and calm during this catastrophe, and services were restored in line with expectations.
Mr. Cheng has made considerable contributions to Shell through his role in developing a common standard operating procedure for the management of overfill controls associated with the company’s above ground storage tanks. This procedure has helped Shell avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of preventable spill incidents.
Mr. Cheng first joined Shell’s Pipeline division as an Onshore Project Intern while getting his B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Houston. He later earned his M.B.A. at the University of Houston as well, all while continuing to work full time. He soon moved to Shell’s Trading and Supply division, he held responsibility for inspection and maintenance practices and work procedures in over 150 sites across more than 20 countries.
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Mr. Cheng has lived throughout the Americas and Africa thanks to his geologist father who took his family along when his job sent him to new locations. Since landing in the U.S. as a high school junior, he has credited his faith in God, in his family, and in his community for his continued career success.