A 14-hour time difference in Malaysia didn’t stop her from staying up late to watch Dak Prescott lead the Bulldogs in a historic rise to No. 1 in 2014. Being more than 2,700 miles away in Canada didn’t stop her from tuning in as Coach Vic Schaefer led women’s hoops to a record-breaking, undefeated regular season.
No matter how far away her career may take her, Carman H. Mullins remains committed to surrounding herself with Maroon and White.
“I was born and bred a Bulldog; it’s in my blood. My uncle is Kent Sills, who led the band for many years. My first cousin is Dr. Al Sills, who is the chief medical officer for the NFL. My dad went to Mississippi State for mechanical engineering,” the Yazoo City native said. “In our family, we are Bulldogs through and through.
“What sets Mississippi State apart is the family atmosphere. No matter where you are in the world, there’s an instant connection when you see a person with a Mississippi State shirt, hat or cowbell,” she continued. “I don’t get the chance to come back much, but I definitely keep in touch and cheer from afar.”
Mullins oversees country operations as president of Exxon Mobil Canada, which is headquartered in Newfoundland. It’s her latest international appointment since completing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1996.
She began her career as a facility engineer for Exxon Corp. in New Orleans, prior to the company’s merger with Mobil Corp. to become the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company. Over the next 11 years, she held progressively senior technical, supervisory and planning roles in various assignments in the United States.
In 2010, Mullins took her first post abroad as surface engineering technical manager and then Horn River project manager for Imperial Oil Resources in Canada. She moved in 2013 to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to assume duties as surface technical general manager with the Exxon Mobil Exploration and Production Office, where she later became senior general manager. She returned to the Great White North in January 2017 to assume her current role.
“I’ve worked my 21-year career in the upstream part of Exxon Mobil, so we are exploring, developing and producing oil and natural gas versus our downstream business, which is processing those resources in our refineries and chemical plants around the world,” Mullins explained. “I have teams in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, and our primary business is supporting huge offshore facilities in the north Atlantic that not only are producing oil and natural gas but doing so in a way that is safe for our employees and the environment.”
Mullins said she enjoys putting her engineering background to use while discussing current projects and new opportunities with engineers, geoscientists, accountants and other Exxon Mobil employees from different disciplines. At least once a quarter, she dons a winter survival suit and flies via helicopter to visit employees at Exxon Mobil Canada’s offshore facilities in the north Atlantic.
“I think the greatest thing about having an engineering degree from Mississippi State is that it teaches you how to break down and solve all types of problems,” Mullins explained. “Every day, I get to work with great people who are helping to take on different challenges. I’ve never come to work a day where I didn’t learn something.”
Mullins lists the November 2017 launch of Exxon Mobil’s Hebron oil platform as a highlight of her career. Located in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, Hebron is a stand-alone, reinforced concrete structure designed to withstand sea ice, icebergs, and meteorological and oceanographic conditions while storing approximately 1.2 million barrels of crude oil.
“If you think of six football fields stacked on top of each other sitting in the ocean, that is what we built,” Mullins said. “There is more concrete in the base of this facility than in the Empire State Building, enough to fill up 54 Olympic-sized swimming pools.”
Mullins said explaining the scientific advances and processes that go into obtaining crude oil is an important aspect of being a leader in the field.
“As an industry, we also need to continue talking with members of the public, so they can understand and have an appreciation for how a barrel of oil goes from underneath the ground, how it is drilled, produced, processed and ends up at the gas station where it goes into your tank,” she explained. “There are a lot of steps in that journey, and sharing our story is a fun thing to do.”
Outside of work, Mullins said she enjoys spending time with her husband and fellow 1996 MSU mechanical engineering graduate Jason Mullins and their children, 13-year-old son Henley and 8-year-old daughter Sydney. She also is a passionate supporter of community organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society and the United Way.
“My mom passed away from cancer, so the Canadian Cancer Society’s cause is very near and dear to my heart,” Mullins said.
“Every year I’ve been a part of Exxon Mobil, we also have supported the United Way. I’m proud that being a good community citizen and partner is a very big part of our company culture.”
This passion for hard work and caring for others is something Mullins attributes to her childhood in Mississippi and years at Mississippi State. She said her mechanical engineering studies and active involvement in the Student Association, Delta Gamma sorority and Roadrunners gave her a solid foundation for the rewarding career she enjoys today.
“As a leader, you need to empower your team members to be better than they are without you, and I think Dr. Jimmy Abraham gave us those fundamentals by teaching us how to communicate and welcome new students to campus,” Mullins said, speaking of the former Roadrunner adviser. “Getting that full experience at Mississippi State made me well rounded and gave me perspective on how I could be successful in the business world. I feel very fortunate.”
By Sasha Steinberg, Photos submitted