1 August 2006
UOP’s chief garners ISA’s Top Award–Honorary Member
“Active participation of UOP engineers, scientists, and technicians in ISA’s continuing education programs, along with contributions to the various technical committees, professional development activities, and technical exchanges, is a healthy and sure way to raise the level of our professionalism and remain competitive in today’s global marketplace.” —Cabrera
By Jim Strothman
Whether it was through his technical expertise or his inherent business acumen, Carlos A. Cabrera has witnessed massive changes in the automation industry throughout his 33-year career at international process technology and services provider UOP LLC.
A native of Ecuador, Cabrera joined Des Plaines, Ill.-headquartered UOP in 1973 after graduating from the University of Kentucky with “High Distinction” in chemical engineering. Holder of seven U.S. patents and author of numerous publications, UOP’s president and chief executive will officially be recognized as an ISA Honorary Member—the highest honor bestowed by the society—at ISA’s 2006 Honors & Awards (H&A) banquet 16 October at the Hyatt RegencyHouston.
While the Honorary Member award acknowledges Cabrera’s personal “outstanding contributions to the advancement of the arts and sciences of instrumentation, systems, and automation,” H&A Committee members also recognized the longtime strong support UOP as a company has provided ISA and its members for many years.
“Cabrera has demonstrated a personal and corporate commitment to ISA and is highly deserving of this recognition,” said Bob Ives, Honorary & Life Subcommittee chair for ISA’s H&A Committee.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell’s Specialty Materials group since last year, UOP has a 92-year history in the hydrocarbon field. Today, UOP has approximately 2,800 employees and $1.3 billion in revenue. It is an international supplier and licensor of process technology, catalysts, adsorbents, process plants, and technical services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries.
UOP sponsors ISA’s UOP Technology Award, which recognizes an outstanding achievement in the conception, design, or implementation of instrumentation and/or process control in an area of activity covered by the scope of the society’s Automation & Technology Department.
“I am extremely honored and humbled,” said Cabrera, when asked how he felt about receiving the honor. “Throughout my career, I have greatly admired the ISA, particularly its dedication to the continued education and advancement of the professionals that are vital to so many industries. I am proud to be associated with the ISA, and now even prouder to join such good company as Warren Sedlacek, Walt Bajek, and Mike Winfield, all former UOP employees who have previously been recognized with the highest ISA honor.”
Named UOP president and CEO on 1 December 2005, shortly after Honeywell acquired the company, Cabrera said UOP views its support of ISA as critical to its success.
“As a company, we are dedicated to innovation and the transfer of knowledge and technology to our clients. To be successful in our endeavors, we need first-class professionals that benefit from organizations such as ISA,” Cabrera said. “Like UOP, ISA is committed to the advancement of technology and the professional development of the talented scientists, engineers, and technicians who make it all possible.
“As UOP’s president and CEO, I view it as my responsibility to provide the resources and opportunities for our employees to develop and advance their careers. Active participation of UOP engineers, scientists, and technicians in ISA’s continuing education programs, along with contributions to the various technical committees, professional development activities, and technical exchanges, is a healthy and sure way to raise the level of our professionalism and remain competitive in today’s global marketplace,” he said.
From 1983-1995, Cabrera held technical service management positions, initially leading commissioning efforts and providing ongoing service to customers operating UOP licensed units. He served as area manager for continuing service to customers in Latin America and the Caribbean, fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) area manager, then, in 1990, was named director of UOP’s Operating Technical Service Department.
Cabrera led the commercial demonstration of several FCC innovations that enabled residue catalytic cracking. He oversaw the first successful installation of two-stage regenerators, direct coupled cyclones, catalyst coolers, elevated feed distributors, and lift zones, all of which are now widely used in the refining industry and have become part of the standard FCC technology offering.
As director and later vice president of business development, Cabrera, in 1995, initiated and oversaw the acquisition of Unocal’s research and technology licensing. That acquisition completely changed UOP’s perspective on hydroprocessing technologies and brought in an influx of expertise in hydrotreating, hydrocracking, and heavy oil upgrading.
In 2001, Cabrera merged UOP’s Refining and Petrochemicals businesses, and then in 2002, UOP reorganized and Cabrera led the Process Technology and Equipment business, combining all of UOP’s licensing, engineering, and proprietary equipment activities. Also in 2001, he initiated what became the UOP-BP Alliance, the first broad collaboration agreement between UOP and a major oil company in the areas of technical service and development.
As head of UOP’s Process Technology & Equipment business, he worked with AspenTech to create a framework for merging UOP’s CASA technology with AspenTech’s ZYQAD to generate an engineering platform for delivering process technology through all stages of the design process.