Marathon Petroleum train crew blazing new trails on the rails

Business News

Los Angeles, sustainability
All female train crew posing at LA refinery Asmita Jadhav, Aeme Paz and Becky Showalter were the first all-female train crew at the Los Angeles refinery’s Train & Rack Unit. (Photo was taken before COVID-19 mask updates)

At a glance, a work shift in early August in the Los Angeles refinery’s Train & Rack (T&R) Unit probably wouldn’t have seemed any different from countless previous shifts. It went forward smoothly without any difficulties. This shift was unprecedented, however. It marked the first time at the refinery that all members of a three-person train crew were women.

Progress in Motion

The T&R Unit receives and ships all railcars at the refinery, stages them at the propane and butane loading racks, sets up railcar shipments and conducts inspections prior to shipments. Employees rotate continually through five job duty stations, including three places on the train crew and a loader position at each of the two loading racks. The chief responsibility of the three-person train crew is to plan the train’s movement inside the refinery and then safely position the railcars where they need to be.

On the shift in early August, Asmita Jadhav, Aeme Paz and Becky Showalter worked together as a train crew for the first time, forming the refinery’s first all-female crew. They are the only women among the T&R Unit’s 16 employees.

“I am proud of these women for establishing a new benchmark,” said Safety Supervisor Connie Lema, who is also a member of the refinery’s chapter of the ARISE Women’s Employee Network. “Their achievement is a rarity in our industry and a reflection of their personal tenacity as well as MPC’s commitment to expanding opportunities for professional development.”

Milestone Moment

Jadhav and Showalter have worked at the refinery for 10 years, mostly in the T&R Unit, and Paz joined the refinery almost two years ago in T&R. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, women compose about one-fifth of the employees in the petroleum refining industry and represent roughly the same portion of MPC’s workforce.

“The sight of them working together was truly something for T&R and our Women’s Employee Network to celebrate,” Lema said. “It’s a point in time that we’ll be able to remember with great pride.”