Joe Munchel: Applying entrepreneurial skills to career in engineering


As the export product director at Phillips 66 in Houston, TX, Joe Munchel (’12 CH E) may be a little far from Happy Valley, but he still feels the strong connection to Penn State that he had long before he stepped onto campus as a chemical engineering student. 

After attending campus events and many football Saturdays in Happy Valley while growing up, he knew Penn State was the right choice for him.

“As I toured other schools, I knew Penn State was perfect and ended up looking for the aspects I loved about it in the other schools,” Joe said.

Chemical engineering was the path he wanted to take from the start, but Joe also longed to learn business as well, which is why he chose to enroll in the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program.
The minor combines technology and business to create entrepreneurs and innovators, and shows students of any major how to use their unique skills to become innovators in today’s global business climate.

As part of the minor, Joe said he worked on projects centered on entrepreneurship from marketing to pitching to selling. 

“I was doing activities I never thought I would do as an engineer, and they later ended up being my job,” he said. “The minor puts you out of your comfort zone and it broadened my horizons to the business side of how transactions occur.”

Joe said four professors had a significant impact on his development through coursework and leadership style: Phil Boyer, former director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Minor; the late Robert Nedwick, professor of chemical engineering; and Distinguished Professors of Chemical Engineering Darrell Velegol and Andrew Zydney. 

Since graduating in 2012, Joe has been working at Phillips 66, a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company that processes, transports, stores, and markets fuels and products globally, according to the company’s website.

In his current role, Joe oversees product development and works on a daily basis with their international sales force and research and development teams to determine what product portfolios are needed in each country or region. He also coordinates regulatory groups, R&D efforts, and other related projects.

Throughout his various positions in the company, Joe has traveled around the country and spent a year and a half in technical sales at their Arizona offices. He sold primarily to the mining industry and went to mining sites several times a week. 

In March, Phillips 66 moved Joe back to Houston for his current position.

Because he had the opportunity to visit different cities throughout his career, Joe loves traveling and exploring new places, trying local foods, and going to local restaurants.

In the future, he said he could see himself moving into a managerial position because of his passion for leading people and developing the careers of others.


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Lauren Blum
Joe Munchel

Joe Munchel, export product director at Phillips 66 in Houston, TX, and ChE alumnus '12



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