From US military to key role at Mossmorran for Dee

As an aviation commander in the US Army, Dee Turner was used to ensuring all her aircraft and soldiers were fully fit and in prime condition.
Dee Turner - aviation commander in the US Army who has joined ExxonMobil as a machinery engineerDee Turner - aviation commander in the US Army who has joined ExxonMobil as a machinery engineer
Dee Turner - aviation commander in the US Army who has joined ExxonMobil as a machinery engineer

And when she joined ExxonMobil as a Machinery Engineer in Texas ten years later, the role of keeping essential equipment running smoothly continued.

Now Dee is based at ExxonMobil’s Fife Ethylene Plant where she plays a lead role maintaining and improving the reliability and efficiency of key machinery on the site.

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And in her day to day role she is dealing with a gas turbine which is ten times the size of those on the helicopter turbine engines she was dealing with in the US Army.

Pic: Neil HannaPic: Neil Hanna
Pic: Neil Hanna

“Our gas turbine is at the heart of the plant here at FEP, so it is essential that it is properly maintained,” she explained.

“My job here is to look after the machinery so that it can do its job properly and to help develop any projects to improve that. I also help the people working with it to understand the systems and ensure they have the right skills to deal with it.

“A lot of the skills I learned in the military are transferrable to this environment and, just as we had very strict check lists before the aircraft set off for a mission, so there is very much the same emphasis to follow the correct procedures here.”

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Dee (46), who lives with her husband Mike and twin boys Masen and Malek (14) in South Queensferry, chose to go to the military academy rather than university because she liked its structure and discipline as well as its emphasis on the “whole person” rather than unique, specialty skills.

“That structure and drive to push yourself to do well in all areas was something that I really enjoyed, as well as being able to serve the country I love,” she added.

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“After graduating from the military academy where I went to flight school for a year I became a second lieutenant and my first assignment was in South Korea where I was Detachment Commander in charge of three aircraft, its pilots and crew, which was a big responsibility.”

And in the wake of 9/11 she was responsible for commanding a helicopter assault company in preparation for them deploying to Afghanistan.

“The twin towers bombing had just happened and war was not a matter of if, but when,” she said.

“My job was to prepare a very young company, some who were just out of flight school, to get them ready to go to Afghanistan in April 2004. I was in charge of 15 aircraft and around 50 people and it was quite a challenge.”

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Dee decided to leave the military to have a family, while her husband, who had spent 22 years in the military as a helicopter pilot, took a job as an airline pilot.

After an 18-month break with her twins, Dee joined ExxonMobil’s Baytown facility, moving there from Ohio.

The family decided to come to Scotland when a position became available at FEP in June 2016, initially for a three year period.

“We jumped at the opportunity as the boys were just finishing elementary school, so the timing was good, and we thought it would be good for them to experience a different culture and other ways of doing things.

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“As well as enjoying the work here and meeting lots of different people we have really enjoyed exploring the UK and the European mainland and we take a trip at least a couple of times a year.

“We’ve had some great once in a lifetime trips and visited countries like Italy, Croatia, Germany, Norway, France and many more with a few trips as cycling holidays.”

And Dee’s three year contract has now been extended for another two years.

“There is still lots of work to be done in the coming months and that’s why I am still here,” she said. “I want to try to make a positive difference in the time I am here.”