Canadian Fuels Association members produce, distribute and sell the transportation fuels that support the mobility of all Canadians. At all stages in the process that brings fuels to the point of sale, our members are achieving impressive goals for community involvement, innovation and environmental performance. In this issue of Perspectives, we talk to three individuals who make a difference.

Promoting creative solutions

Martine Péloquin’s success is rooted in a life-long fascination with chemistry and an appetite for challenge.

The leisurely bicycle path along the St. Lawrence River in Lévis, Quebec includes an arresting artistic embellishment. Storage tanks at Valero Energy’s Jean Gaulin Refinery marine terminal have been adorned with colourful murals that depict the shoreline as it was more than a century ago.

The artworks are part of a $5 million Valero project to enhance the terminal, which juts into the river across from the historic Plains of Abraham. It’s a project Martine Péloquin is particularly proud of. “This project is typical of the collaboration between our refinery and the surrounding area,” says Péloquin, the refinery’s Vice President and General Manager. “Our community liaison committee worked hard to achieve consensus with local partners and find a creative, cost-effective way to enhance the appearance of our facility.”

Hard work and consensus building have been key to Péloquin’s career, which was sparked by love of chemistry in high school. She earned her degree in chemical engineering at Laval University in 1989.

“When I started at Ultramar as a process engineer I had no idea I would end up where I am,” says Péloquin. With every challenge she took on over the years, she learned she had the capacity to do more.

“I love the process of analyzing and trouble-shooting” she says. “As an engineer, the problems were technical. As an executive, the problems are different—and much more complicated!”

In a field still dominated by men, Péloquin is one of only a few women to lead a petro-chemical refinery in North America. “Things are changing,” she says, pointing out that her 11-person management team includes seven women. “My success comes from my management style. I am a team worker who believes in bringing everyone into the decision-making process.”

That teamwork is especially essential as Péloquin prepares for two upcoming refinery turnarounds. “We start planning two years in advance,” she says of an operation that will shut down the 270,000 bpd facility for 45 days to enable inspection, cleaning and repairs. “During the shutdown, our permanent staff of nearly 500 employees will be supplemented by up to 1,000 contractors.” It is a massive engineering undertaking that requires a steady leadership hand—and a touch of executive artistry—to ensure the refinery resumes operation as soon as possible.

“With every challenge she took on
over the years, Péloquin learned
she had the capacity to do more.”