Women in Science and Technology at Ergon

Thu., Feb 11, 2021

On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Ergon is delighted to celebrate some of the many amazing women throughout our organization who contribute to the fields of science and technology.


In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish an annual International Day to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities. These efforts are designed to support and promote access and participation for women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, training and research activities.

According to UN statistics, less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women, and only 30% of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. The UN reports that only 5% of female students globally choose to study natural science, mathematics and statistics, and 8% choose the fields of engineering, manufacturing or construction. These are all areas with opportunities for employment in organizations like Ergon, and it is our hope that you will join us in supporting and celebrating the women and girls who are leading innovation.


Ergon’s Refining & Marketing (R&M) Technical Team offers guidance for both internal stakeholders and customers, driving technical initiatives that touch the daily lives of people all over the world – improving the world around us through technical service and expertise. They include process technologists, pilot plant operators, and engineers; global product support teams of product services and technical marketing managers; and a research and insights group of scientists, chemists and laboratory operations.

The R&M Technical Team is led by Staci Springer, Senior Vice President – Technology and a member of R&M’s Management Team. Staci has B.S. degrees in both Biology and Chemistry and a Master of Business Administration. She is responsible for technical aspects from crude to customer.

In R&M Technical Marketing, Mary Ann Abney has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a Master’s in Business Administration, and as Global Technical Marketing Manager – Process Oils in R&M, she is responsible for technical marketing efforts supporting Ergon’s global process oil customers and sales team, as well as providing guidance and internal support.

In R&M’s Research & Insights Laboratory, Dr. Kristie Armstrong has an A.A. degree in Chemistry and Physics, a B.S. in Chemistry, and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry. As the R&M Technology Research & Insights Lab Manager, Kristie is responsible for leading the team of laboratory professionals that provide analytical support for R&M’s Raw Materials Qualification Program crude assays, product development, and technical development projects. Working with Kristie is Stephanie D.H. Wilson, who has a Master of Science in Biology. As Project Chemist for Ergon’s Insights and Research Lab, she is responsible for assisting with project/product development and providing insights into analytical methods.

In R&M’s Product Services Department, Silvia Carvalho, with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, serves as Market Technical Support Representative – Process Oils. She is responsible for providing technical support and product expertise to Ergon’s global process oil customers and sales team. Ashmita Niroula has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering, and as Market Technical Support Representative - Insulating Oils, she is responsible for supporting Ergon’s global insulating oil customers and sales team, as well as product development. Mary Lou Cupp has a degree in Chemistry and serves as Quality Assurance Representative – Ergon - West Virginia. Lisa Burkhalter serves as Quality Assurance Representative – Ergon Refining.

The Quality Assurance Laboratory at Ergon Refining, the company’s naphthenic refinery, is ISO 17025 accredited and responsible for providing data for refinery process samples taken directly from production streams from the crude distillation hydrotreating units, analyzing wastewater treatment plant samples, and certifying terminal product tanks and product shipment samples.

Leeann Boutwell has a B.S. in ACS Biochemistry with a Master of Business Administration. As the Laboratory Quality Administrator for Ergon Refining, she is responsible for maintaining laboratory quality through quality control testing, accreditations, laboratory technician training and competency evaluations, and managing the Laboratory Information Management System.

Serving as QA Laboratory Technician II for Ergon Refining are LaShawn Brown, who has a B.S. in Analytical Chemistry, and Verinda Waters, who has a B.S. in Biology. They are responsible for providing quality data for refinery process samples and certifying terminal product tanks and shipments.

At Ergon – West Virginia, the company’s paraffinic refinery, Jessie Grimm serves as Process Engineer. She has her B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering.

In Ergon R&M’s Refinery Operations, Samantha Garner serves as Process Safety Coordinator, responsible for assisting Ergon’s refineries in preventing catastrophic events, such as fires and other releases due to loss of primary containment, and “keeping hazardous materials in the pipes.” Sam has degrees in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.

In R&M’s Finance & Business Optimization Department, Ashley Yonker serves as Planning & Coordination Specialist. She is responsible for facilitating the Executive Sales and Operations Planning (ES&OP) process within R&M, as well as running and improving the linear programming application to optimize business planning, including third-party purchases. Ashley has a B.S. in Mathematics and Chemical Engineering.

Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions (EAE), the largest asphalt emulsion marketer in North America, is the industry’s resource leader and a pioneer in pavement preservation.

Renea Thompson, Regional EHS Compliance Specialist for EAE’s North Texas Region, has B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Finance and a Master’s in Engineering Technology. In addition to supporting employees in the field in her region, Renea is also deeply involved in corporate initiatives related to continuous improvement of Ergon’s EHS culture.

Mandy Monjaras has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and serves as Technical Operations Manager. She supports plants in three of EAE’s four regions with formulation and process support, specification review and quality guidance.

Amy Perry serves at Laboratory Technician/Operator in EAE’s Roswell, New Mexico, plant, where she is responsible for testing and quality control in the lab.

Paragon Technical Services (PTSI), a division of Ergon’s Asphalt & Emulsions segment, offers analytical testing, instrumental analysis and chemical analysis from its state-of-the-art laboratory. They develop new products for customers in the petroleum refining, roofing, waterproofing, protective coatings, specialty asphalts and asphalt paving industries. An important service provided by PTSI is continuing education and training on industry advancements.

Shelly Cowley has a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology. As Technical Director of the Asphalt Emulsion Group at Paragon, she and her team are responsible for the development and support of Ergon's emulsions.

Katie Adams has a B.S. degree in Forensic Chemistry and serves as Analytical Chemist. She is responsible for all chemical analysis of asphalt binders, such as acid number testing, salt content, asphalt composition analysis and metals analysis.

Charity Cook has a degree in Chemistry and serves as a Group Leader at Paragon Technical Services, providing instruction and guidance to the Asphalt Emulsion Team while managing the workflow of plant support and product development projects.

Angela Crosby has a B.S. in Forensic Science with Chemistry and Biochemistry, and as a Binder Chemist at Paragon Technical Services, she is responsible for Plant Support and Research and Development of Asphalt Binders.

Ashley Gilmore has a B.S. in Biological Science. As an Emulsion Chemist, she is responsible for research and development of asphalt emulsions.

Alexus McDonald has a B.S. in Civil Engineering. Working in mix design and field services, she is responsible for the application testing of asphalt products.

Rachel Stephens has a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. As an Asphalt Binder Chemist, she is responsible for plant support and research and development of asphalt binders.

Paragon Technical Services – Specialty Coatings Group is responsible for testing, developing, and improving products to support ErgonArmor’s adhesive, coating, and industrial wear and protection products.

Rebekkah Lively has a Master of Science in Chemistry from the University of South Carolina in Analytical Chemistry. As an Epoxy Chemist, she is responsible for ErgonArmor’s Novocoat product line.

Jennifer Sasser has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering. As a Coatings Development Specialist, she is responsible for ErgonArmor’s Ertech and Blackhawk product lines.

Ergon’s Product Stewardship Department ensures products are produced, utilized and managed at the end of life in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. The team seeks sustainable solutions across Ergon’s businesses, provides oversight to fuels regulatory transactions, facilitates Ergon’s relationships with government relations lobbyists, and guides strategy for the company’s Odyssey platform.

Bonnie Chapman, Vice President – Product Stewardship, leads the Product Stewardship Team, driving Ergon’s sustainability initiatives and facilitating government relations contacts. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an MBA.

Mary Ellen Snow has a B.S. in Chemistry with a Master’s in Chemistry, and as Global Product Stewardship Manager, she oversees regulatory programs related to the domestic and international distribution and registration of products manufactured by Ergon companies.

Lakeisha Jones, Hazard Communication Specialist, has a B.S. in Chemistry. She is responsible for keeping up with the hazards of chemicals Ergon produces, ships or sells, as well as creating labels and safety data sheets conveying relevant dangers to customers while helping to minimize impact on the environment.

Ergon’s Corporate Engineering Department works from design to execution to ensure the efficient operation of Ergon facility projects across the country. Serving the department as a Project Engineer is Allison Wallace, who has a degree in Civil Engineering. She is responsible for management of capital projects with a primary focus on projects within Refining & Marketing, Asphalt & Emulsions and Transportation & Terminaling segments.

The Business Process Management Department works with Ergon companies to provide services for managing and optimizing business processes including document management, procedures, training and development, management system implementation, audits and inspections, root cause analysis and incident investigations and more.

Megan Ancelet has a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering. As an Industrial Engineer at Ergon, she is responsible for assisting facilities in optimizing business processes.

Maris Risinger, with a degree in Industrial Engineering, also serves as an Industrial Engineer. She is responsible for providing services for managing and optimizing business processes.

Ergon’s Information Technology Department strives to provide all services required to meet the company’s current and future information systems needs.

Jana Branham, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer and a member of Ergon’s Executive Management Team, has a BBA in Management. She leads the IT Department and is responsible for all aspects of information technology and driving change for process improvement as she works with business leaders at Ergon.

Kim Ladd, Director of Enterprise System Solutions, is a change agent working with business leaders to drive continuous improvement for business processes and challenges.

Kristen Hoover is an SAP Business Analyst and has an associate degree in Technology. She partners with the business to design, test, and implement functionality to streamline business processes in inventory management.

Katherine Easterling is an SAP Business Analyst who partners with the business to design, test and implement functionality to streamline business processes in Sales & Distribution. She has a B.S. in Accounting and a Master’s in Taxation.

Megan Butts, an Industrial Engineer working in IT, interfaces with Ergon’s business units to define project goals and improvement objectives focused on enhancing Odyssey, the company’s regulatory compliance system used to report and track environmental, health and safety, as well as security events and metrics.

The Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) Department provides assistance to the Ergon family of companies for all local, national and international EHS-related regulatory issues. EHS strives to have proactive, innovative and collaborative partnerships throughout the organization, enhancing Ergon’s performance by providing innovative solutions that protect people, the environment and assets.

Katelan Crain and Rebekah Phyfer both serve as Environmental Engineers in EHS, responsible for providing support to Ergon and its subsidiaries on environmental programs and compliance. Katelan has a degree in Biological Engineering, and Rebekah has a degree in Petroleum Engineering.

Kelly Meeks, with degrees in Risk Management, Insurance and Financial Planning, serves as a Health & Safety Specialist. With a scientific approach to hazard recognition and behavioral psychology, Kelly is working to promote a culture at Ergon where every employee returns home each day, whole and healthy.

Join us in celebrating these and all the women at Ergon who strive daily to help us meet needs, serve customers and support families — and join the conversation on social media with #WomenInScience.