The history of Baytown surrounded Kate Lightfoot Tuesday night, which correlates closely with Humble Oil, as Baytonians welcomed her as the next ExxonMobil Baytown Chemical Plant manager.
The reception was fittingly held at the Baytown Historical Museum, as Lightfoot herself is making history by being the first female plant manager at the Baytown Chemical Plant in the more than 50 years of operations.
“To me, I’m proud to be selected and honored,” Lightfoot said. “And really, my hope is that I can show other women that you can have a family, you can be a wife and have a career. That’s really the way I look at it. More than being the first female, it’s more about how do I help other people see that they can aspire to roles like this.”
While new to the position, Lightfoot is already very familiar with Baytown, having spent about 16 years working in ExxonMobil facilities in the city. Since joining the company in Baytown in 2002, she has served in various technical and process leadership roles from 2002 until 2011 at the Baytown Chemical Plant. Lightfoot then moved to the Baytown Olefins Plant from 2011 until 2016. At both campuses, Lightfoot was the first female process manager.
Then in March 2016, Lightfoot became the Polyethylene Manager at the ExxonMobil Spring campus before returning to Baytown as the Baytown Chemical Plant Process Manager in June 2017.
“I’ve been here for 16 years. The only time I left I was when I was in a role in the Spring campus for just one year where I was supporting the growth project here in Baytown,” Lightfoot said. “Essentially I don’t feel like I’m coming back because I feel like I’ve been here and I continue to call Baytown my work home.”
Having worked in Baytown for so long, Lightfoot is already familiar with many of the ways ExxonMobil is involved in the community and hopes to continue to support the community through volunteer efforts, through the school districts and by partnering with organizations like the United Way of Greater Baytown Area and Chambers County.
“I really just want to continue the great relationship we have with the community and the people in Baytown,” Lightfoot said. “And one way we do that is being safe in the way we run our plants. Because if we don’t do that, then we don’t have the relationship.”
While many elected officials and local leaders welcomed and congratulated Lightfoot on her promotion Tuesday night, the attendees that meant the most to her were family.
“I could not have a role like this if I did not have the support of my family,” Lightfoot said. “I was talking with several people about the village that it takes to raise a family. And I appreciate what they do to support me in this role, and also I appreciate the support of the community.”
Lightfoot is originally from Arkansas, where she attended the University of Arkansas and received a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. She also received masters in Business Administration from the University of Houston Clear Lake while working as a chemical engineer.
She has been married to her husband Ronny for three years and has three children, Ally, 14, Will, 12, and Gavin who is 18 months.