Growing up, Reena’s mom used to say, “She will be an engineer one day. If she doesn’t have a problem handy, she will create one to solve.”
That phrase stuck with Reena Allappattu, and she went on to study instrumentation and control engineering. After many years in the oil and gas sector, she joined Koch Fertilizer Canada in Brandon, Manitoba in 2019 as a process controls engineer.
Today, Reena ensures the plant’s control systems are running reliably and efficiently, monitors equipment and process parameters, and develops and implements changes to improve process uptime in a safe manner.
“The control and shutdown systems are the heart of any manufacturing plant, which need to be managed with highest grade accuracy, coupled with due care for the safety of equipment, personnel and the environment,” Reena said. “Having more than 14 years instrumentation and control engineering experience allows me to be an instrument subject matter expert and to continually strive to improve reliability and achieve sustainable performance.”
Just like her mom used to tease, Reena enjoys solving problems in a challenging environment. She said industrial processes have evolved into very complex, integrated systems and continue to present new problems.
“I have an affinity for technical details and love for working with the latest technologies to problem-solve,” she said. “Often, we can implement new process controls measures quickly and it’s satisfying to achieve an immediate improvement at the facility. To influence the facility in a positive way — solve a problem and see it implemented — is the best feeling I get.”
Reena also finds fulfillment through personal growth and appreciates Koch emphasizes development and provides opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. She was inspired by the reading Abraham Maslow’s quote ‘What a man can be, he must be’ in Charles Koch’s book Good Profit.
“This made me to ponder and realize how self-actualization can bring satisfaction to oneself by discovering your hidden potential,” she said. “I write down my interests and goals, and use it as inspiration to get outside my comfort zone. I also continually work toward attaining satisfaction by performing successfully in my role. Self-actualization for me is just always looking to self-improvement.”