Students from Mann UCLA Community School recently visited Torrance Refinery (Refinery) to learn about the business, the various career paths the refinery supports, and tour the facility. The Mann UCLA Community School brings together its resources, family and community to help young people thrive and make families and communities stronger in the South Los Angeles area.

Members of the Refinery’s League of Black Professionals and Women’s Interest Network groups hosted the visitors. Process Safety Supervisor Alex Holt and Unit Superintendent Adonis Harris served as Refinery tour guides.

“I believe ‘knowledge is power’ and this visit provided an opportunity for students to learn the facts about our business, discover different types of jobs that are available and attainable versus the typical ones they see in the media such as music, sports, and social media,” said Harris.

Harris, who lives near the school, hopes to spark students’ interest in the oil and gas industry. “There are various jobs offered at the Refinery such as Operator, Firefighter, Engineer etc.,” he said. “I am also a South LA resident and I know the student’s exposure to these other fields are likely very minimal, so it was important to me personally to participate, set an example for the students, and build positive relationships with my community,” Harris added.

Engineers Tuski Mason, Jessica Demeyer and Amber Fuller are active employee volunteers. They kicked off the day with an overview of the Refinery and its operations, showing students samples of the types of products the Refinery produces.

“We strive to bring the chemistry principles they learn in the classroom to life,” said Demeyer, who along with her colleagues participated in small group discussions with the students. Refinery volunteers shared their experiences, both professional and personal, and offered students motivation to achieve their goals.  

Mann UCLA teachers Sunanda Kushon, Darlene Tieu and Colleen Fuller appreciated the opportunity to visit the Refinery with their students.

A business in the city of Torrance for more than 90 years, the Torrance Refinery has more than 600 employees, several hundred contractors, and produces approximately 10 percent of the gasoline demand in California – 20 percent in Southern California.

The Refinery provides great careers with high-paying salaries and good benefits. The average salary is $131,000 annually, and each job supports an additional 15 jobs in local communities. Our goal is to see Mann UCLA graduates working at the Torrance Refinery in the future!