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Employee Spotlight March 2023 - Sunny Lopez

Name: Sunny Lopez

Title: Manager, Aviation

Location: Houston, TX

Years with Phillips: 16+

Describe yourself in three phrases: Curious Learner, Problem Solver, People Lover

What do you love most about your job? I love the opportunity to collaborate, innovate, help others, and continually challenge myself. My role within Phillips 66 allows me to do all the above in a very impactful way. I have been able to meet many folks who have been in the aviation world for their entire careers, and I’m excited to be a part of the passion for this industry that I have witnessed. We are also in a time where we are innovating – from systems and digitalization to product innovation (which is HUGE for aviation). I’m fortunate to be able to play a large role in shaping our future products. Most important, I love to work with the folks on my team and those who support our business. They are truly amazing and inspiring. We are continuing to invest in our customers, help them elevate and grow their businesses, and that is extremely rewarding.

Briefly describe your professional history and how you arrived at Phillips 66. I am an industrial engineer by background, which I always say is the people/business side of engineering. I really enjoy working with people and looking for ways to improve processes through streamlining and simplification. I went to work right out of college for a major oil company as a sales engineer in their lubricants business. I spent time doing gear inspections at major facilities, pulling oil samples, making lubricant recommendations, and training folks on lubrication topics. It was an amazing first step into the industry and learning about all the processes that make the products that we use in our daily lives. From there, I took a detour from the oil & gas business for several years as I lived and worked in Panama with my husband. I returned to the U.S. in 2006 to work for, at the time, ConocoPhillips (now Phillips 66). I have had multiple roles since, learning our business, the value chain, and keeping the focus always on our customers and business relationships.

What’s your first aviation-related memory? For several years, I was responsible for the formulation, production, packaging, and all related product specifications for Smoke Oil (as part of a product line within Phillips 66). This was my first adventure into aviation.

What’s a surprising fact about you? Many might be surprised to learn that when I was in high school, I worked at a very small-town radio station for a period of time where I was learning to become a radio DJ. My call name was Sunny G (instead of Sunny D – for those that remember Sunny Delight). I wasn’t very good at it, but interesting none the less!

Where are you from? Have you lived anywhere interesting? I am from South Louisiana. I usually will tell you to find the very center of Louisiana and go all the way down until you hit the water – and that’s where I grew up. I spent a lot of time in the bayous fishing, hydro sliding, or hanging out on sand bars for fun. We did go out to the levies for weekend fun and yes, we did circle Main Street on Friday night as part of the growing up ritual there. Although I haven’t lived there for over 20 years, I will always call Louisiana home. After leaving Louisiana, I moved with my husband to the beautiful country of Panama, where we lived for over six years. It was a great opportunity to learn a new culture, a new language, and have some amazing adventures (such as seeing the Canal, ziplining over dormant volcanos, and exploring both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans). We still try and go back annually.

What was your last vacation? (briefly describe) My family and I went to the Smokey Mountains for Spring Break. We were able to do some beautiful sightseeing and guided hiking while enjoying time together as a family.

What are you inspired by? I am inspired by those who I see leading a faith-based life who can rise above the day-to-day and focus on what really matters in life, no matter the cost to them personally. Those are the folks who don’t just talk about their faith, but they live it out with kindness, compassion for others, and honesty in all they do.

What are you most proud of? Like many folks, I am proud of my family, whom I cherish. My husband is a 5th grade elementary school teacher and pours his energy and passion into his students each and every day – and he LOVES it. My oldest son studies geology and biology at the University of Chicago and wants to be a paleontologist someday soon. My middle son is studying advertising at Texas State University and my daughter is finishing her freshman year in high school. I am very proud of each of them and they are the source of so much of my joy.