Najib Melhem

Pressure Relief Services Director

I have diverse chemical engineering experience spanning the design and evaluation of pressure relief and effluent systems, PSM programs implementation, process simulations, defect resolutions, risk assessment, managing small and large projects, providing 24/7 on-site support to operation and maintenance, and engineering QA/QC. In my tenure I have had the opportunity to walk on all sides of the business from consulting design engineer sitting in an office to consulting support engineer working side by side with the client in the field to the operator engineer and client. So how did I get here and where am I from?

I was born and raised in Lebanon on a small working farm in a little village amidst a civil war. Our farm produced olives, olive oil, grapes, wine, and we also grew most of our staple foods. Our home was one of the oldest continuously inhabited homes in the village, which ended up doubling as a shelter many times during the civil war. My siblings, cousins, and I had multiple daily chores and were expected to complete them whether we had school and homework that day or not…or else. Life was hard yet rewarding. My childhood instilled in me the meaning of hard work, perseverance, giving respect, teamwork, helping a neighbor, and the fulfillment and rewards of a great harvest. It also taught me the value of a good sense of humor.

Like many others from Lebanon, immigrating to the United States offered a safe haven from the raging civil war and a great opportunity for education. So, as soon as I graduated from secondary school I was on my way to the USA after a short stop in England, where I studied the English language.

After a few years, I graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University in College Station. I had several job offers after graduation, but I decided to join a small engineering company called Berwanger, Inc, as I was drawn to the casual atmosphere and the promise of growing with a small company.

My years at Berwanger were interesting, demanding, and rewarding. I got to work for all three lines of services that Berwanger offered, which were Pressure Relief Analysis (PRA), Plant Services (small and large projects, resolution of safety issues and concerns, MOC management, risk assessment, debottlenecking, and on-site support), and Upstream Oil and Gas Production. I got to travel all over the USA and work for all the “Majors”. This included several years of providing on-site support, which gave me a client perspective and opened my eyes to the challenging world of PSM and data integrity.

I left Berwanger as my entrepreneurial spirit wanted to soar. Weeks after I left Berwanger, I joined with two friends and built a medium sized truck stop outside of Austin, Texas which we marketed and leased even before the construction was finished. We built and leased two more within a short time. This was a completely different experience from the engineering work and would have been financially very rewarding if it weren’t for the fact that engineering was in my veins so I had to get back to it.

I came back to work for Celerity3 and became an owner of the company along with four other engineers and friends. We grew the company by almost 100% each year and we expanded our client list to include names such as BP, Chevron, Dow, Shell, Tesoro, Valero, INEOS, and TPC. I continued to work for Celerity3 until the end 2010, two years after the company was acquired by Lloyd’s Register. Celerity3 was a labor of love and it will always be part of me, especially since it was where I met my lovely wife and soul mate Kui Yien.

I joined BP as the Integrity Management Technical Authority at the Texas City Refinery in 2010 where I helped the site in implementing lifecycle management programs for all the critical safety systems/devices. This included coordinating and shepherding the development of procedures and tools for the design, procurement, maintenance, testing, inspection, operation, and decommissioning of over 50 types of critical devices such as relief valves, HIPPS, buildings, critical alarms, safety showers, and flare headers.

My entrepreneurial spirit is again what drove me to join Cognascents as a partner with John Perez. I am looking forward to accomplishing great things and establishing Cognascents as a leader in its field and as a diverse provider of quality engineering services to its clients.

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