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I believe that craftsmanship and owning your equipment is key to a successful reliability program. - Joel Rios

I believe that craftsmanship and owning your equipment is key to a successful reliability program. In this feature we invite Joel Rios, an Analyzer Technician for The Lubrizol Corp. to share his perspectives on Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) and Innovation. Joel is a team member of the Deer Park, Tx Lubrizol Maintenance group that maintains and repairs critical equipment for the processing units. His love for repairing and working on equipment started when he was just a young kid. His grandfather owns a semi-truck company and has always completed his own repairs to his fleet of trucks. This is where Joel first learned about mechanics and repair. This upbringing enabled him to secure a very unique set of skills that he still applies today.

After graduating high school, Joel knew that he wanted to join the petrochemical industry, so he enrolled in the Instrumentation Technology program at San Jacinto College and graduated with his Associates degree. The industry was slow when he graduated with his degree, so he took an electrical apprentice job and also worked two years as a process operator at a local plant which was a great experience. In 2013, he landed his first in-house Instrument Technician job and has been working with instrumentation ever since. Recently he has moved into the analytical side of instrumentation and is really enjoying it. Joel is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree from Lamar University and should graduate in 2021.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?

Joel: I believe from a very young age I knew I wanted to do something that was technical even though my mother wanted me to study and join the medical field...I knew that wasn’t me, I wanted to work with my hands and fix things. In high school I can remember reading brochures that the local chemical companies would bring to the school. These documents highlighted craft positions that were available and it was then that I first learned about Instrumentation. I was instantly very interested in this field.

At, we believe that collaboration is the key for long term value creation. How are you applying this concept?

Joel: I’m currently working with a Sr. Analyzer specialist to resolve several bad actors in the plant that have been causing issues. We have also created critical preventative maintenance plans to improve the reliability of our equipment and to reduce equipment failures. I believe that craftsmanship and owning your equipment is key to a successful reliability program.

How are you delivering innovation or productivity in your career?

Joel: I believe that innovation is very important. I am someone who asks why do we do this like this? Is there a better more efficient and safer way to complete this task? Although it might not make you the popular guy for that day, innovating and questioning is part of being a leader and innovator. Once you take ownership, you are all in for the reliability movement and culture change process.

What is the most difficult technical challenge you’ve resolved?

Joel: One challenge that comes to mind is one long night of troubleshooting on an incinerator, we were going through the startup sequence and lighting but never seeing a flame on our flame detectors. After several failed attempts, we pulled the burner assembly apart and identified that the ignitors were damaged. After rebuilding and reinstalling the ignitors we were able to light the incinerator with no issues.

What advice would you give to anyone starting in the Instrumentation, Electrical or Analytical discipline?

Joel: Take your time and ask plenty of questions, take ownership of your work.

What keeps you up at night?

Joel: If I’m troubleshooting an issue and leave work without solving it this will keep me up at night, I have left work many times to come home and still ponder on what could be causing the issue.

Joel has been an active participator within the community for a while and we were very blessed to have this opportunity to learn more about his role as a technology leader and challenger of the status quo. His foundation was set early in life and has transformed into driving reliability success for his production customers.

Contact Information: LinkedIn, Joel Rios

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