Bechtel Fellows

Lee Schmoe, Gasification Technology


A Bechtel employee for more than 35 years, Lee is a specialist in evaluating and applying new process technologies for coal and gas monetization, including gasification and gas to liquids. He has authored more than two dozen technical papers and presented at workshops around the world.

Get to Know Lee

What is the most exciting or challenging project you were involved in, and what was your role?

I enjoy the challenge and excitement of helping startup a plant that we just designed and built. Every day is a new day with new challenges, new solutions, and the satisfaction of making a difference.

What is the best career advice that you’ve received?

My first mentor told me that there are two ways to gain management recognition. The first is to always do a quality job. The other way is to make a huge mistake, have it get management attention, and then fix the mistake. He recommended the former as the more prudent approach.

What do you see as the key skills that new engineers need to have in the global job market?

I was one of the first process engineers in the Houston office that came directly from college without much hands-on experience. I was at a disadvantage until I had a one-and-a-half year assignment involving the completion of construction and a year of operations. Now it seems most of our young engineers join right out of school. I recommend they proactively seek that hands-on experience so they will be more practical, confident design engineers.

What leadership skills do you think are needed to be a great engineer?

Most of my career has been as a technical specialist where leadership skills include listening before acting, seeking advice and learning from others, sticking to your guns when you know you are right on important issues, treating co-workers as I want to be treated, and mentoring our technical specialists of our future.