IBE Alumni Spotlight – Steven Back

Meet Steven Back — a graduate of the Class of Spring 2017.

Profile photo of Steven Back

Major: Chemical Engineering // Minor: Business

Previous Internships/Co-Ops:

Steven had 2 co-ops during his time in undergrad at Ohio State. One of these co-ops was with the Hershey Company. Steven was placed in a continuous improvement group and worked at the factories, which was his first exposure to chemical engineering in real world. During the co-op, he did a lot of process research with Mounds and AlmondJoy. With this research, Steven tried to convert how the candy was made. Previously, almond products were made in large batches; however, Steven was in charge of setting up a new process plan that used assembly line-type processes without the tedious transportation of large batches. Some additional responsibilities included finding the right temperatures for these processes and introducing palm oil as a new ingredient to KitKats. When reflecting on his co-op at Hershey, Steven noted that he loved to have an impact on something so familiar. 

OSU Involvements: 

One of Steven’s main involvements was with Chem-E Car, in which the team would assemble shoebox size cars that could run and stop using only chemical reactions for a competition. For Ohio State, Steven was the leader of the timing mechanism team. 

What is your current role? What are some projects you have worked on? 

Steven has worked at ExxonMobile for 3 years since graduating. Originally, he conducted process research with trouble shooting and dealt with developing crude oil into petroleum coke. He then moved into a technologies and distillation role. Now, Steven serves as a platform analyst, where he ensures that the company’s units are competitive. He has found this position to be less technical but with more stewardship; it is his responsibility of making sure that info from higher up is translated to those at the sight. Steven believes that this follows exactly what IBE stands for. In all of the roles he has had, it was very helpful to have the knowledge he did about business. IBE has given him an edge that allowed him to adapt to each of his new roles. 

One example of a project he has worked on was a massive safety overhaul, where equipment change-outs and facility alterations made containers safer to open up and empty. 

What was the toughest thing about transitioning to full time? What advice would you give to current IBE students about their professional interests?

For Steven, the hardest part about transitioning to full time employment was going from being just a student to working with very accomplished professionals. However, he notes that jumping right in was the best way to learn and grow.

As for advice, Steven had this to say: “Be sure to pursue interests while in college. There are so many clubs and electives to take.” One example was of an experimental design elective he took that introduced him to data analytics. 

What have you been up to in your free time? Any interesting hobbies, weddings, special events, etc. that you wanna share?

In his free time, Steven plays golf, goes camping (and has recently done so in Big Bend National Park), and has gotten into rock climbing.