Kate Heymans

2020 STEP Ahead Emerging Leader

Production Engineer
Dow Inc.

There’s nothing like the daily challenges and successes to discover the newest technical innovations and work with fantastic people.

Kate has made many technical and leadership contributions during her time at Dow. For instance, recently Dow undertook a critical improvement project for its Fort Saskatchewan “cracker,” a plant that breaks oil and gas down into ethylene. During this process, levels of elemental mercury required careful monitoring to avoid health and safety hazards. With Kate’s help, a breakthrough approach was created and implemented to make this measurement in less than two minutes through gas chromatography. This enables the working environment to be certified rapidly at any time, ensuring ongoing safety and efficiency. This new technique will benefit the entire industry and received a prestigious 2015 Technology Center Award, of which Kate was co-recipient.

Kate’s impact on people development has also been remarkable. Early in her career with Dow, she served on the company’s New Professional Network (RISE). Since then, Kate has gladly mentored a number of co-op students, both male and female, providing a constructive and caring approach that has truly made a difference to others.

She has also benefited Dow and its employees by serving on the steering team of GLAD, Dow’s LGBTQ2+ support network. As part of the steering team, she organizes events that emphasize the importance of alliance and support to the LGBTQ2+ community and, by extension, to other diversity networks. These popular events have increased the number of members in the network by 50 percent, including almost 100 percent participation by site leadership. Kate also spearheaded 2017’s Diversity Day, which is now an annual tradition for the site.

In addition, Kate freely lends her time to STEM education at local schools. She was active in the FIRST Lego League robotics group at a local elementary school and has mentored university capstone design projects with all-female student groups at the University of Saskatchewan.