Associate Vice Chancellor, Senior Vice President
LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology
Jim Griffin is the San Jacinto College associate vice chancellor/senior vice president for the petrochemical training division. Griffin has more than 30 years of experience in the petrochemical manufacturing industry. He has experienced the many changes in workforce demands of the petrochemical industry and the increased need for workers with degrees and certificates. Griffin began his career in petrochemical manufacturing as an environmental, health, and safety engineer in Illinois, following completion of his master’s degree thesis on chlorine handling and application safety. He is the past chairman of the board for EHCMA and has served in a variety of key roles at chemical plants including corporate director and plant manager. Before joining San Jacinto College, he was vice president of manufacturing for Dianal America, a Mitsubishi Chemical Company. He has also served as manufacturing director and in a variety of leadership positions with PolyOne Corp.
Dean of Business and Technology
James Ragaisis is the San Jacinto College Dean of Business and Technology for the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology. Ragaisis has been an industry consultant, community college faculty member, administrator, and leader in higher education for more than 20 years. Ragaisis is board member of the Arizona Tooling & Machining Association (ATMA) Training Center, member of ATMA Education Team, member of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) Education Team, and a member of the South Pasadena Rotary.
Director of Petrochemical Technology
Tom Stang is the director for the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology. Stang brings 42 years of industry experience to CPET, having worked for several Fortune 500 companies. Prior to San Jacinto College, Stang worked for Dow Chemical for 15 years as an engineer and infrastructure operations and improvement leader.
Director of Resources
Clarissa Belbas is the director of resources for CPET. Belbas has a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering with three years of experience in the aerospace industry plus 12 years in petrochemical engineering . She worked a variety of roles for Amoco/BP in the central engineering division and Texas City refinery including project management, maintenance/reliability, and mechanical integrity, as well as serving as a corporate piping and pressure vessel subject matter expert. Belbas is engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education programs for elementary through college level and serves as the president of Advancing STEM for Students in South Texas (ASSiST)- a program that provides financial assistance, technical mentoring, and classes, workshops, and presentations to a variety of audiences around the greater Houston area. Belbas coaches/mentors high school robotics teams and is passionate about technology engagement including advanced computer design and manufacturing, web development, and emerging technologies such as virtual reality.
Director of CPET Resources-Owners
John Suarez is the San Jacinto College Director of Resources for the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology Resources-Owners. He brings more than 35 years of industry experience in a wide variety of areas including starting and owning eight businesses, spending time as a federal contract manager, and leading international development teams in North and West Africa, Central America, and the Middle East. Suarez is also part of the Project Management Institute, National Contract Management Association, Scrum Alliance, and Microsoft Tech Community and Developer Network among others.
Department Chair, Petrochemical & Energy
281-998-6150 ext. 1352
Joseph Zwiercan is the San Jacinto College Department Chair for Petrochemical/Energy at the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology. Now in his ninth year at the College, Zwiercan brings more than 30 years of industry experience to his role including new construction, contract maintenance, material and plant maintenance, logistics operations, accounting, fire, medical, HAZMAT, and core rescue. Zwiercan is a member of the Instrument Society of Automation (ISA) and the North American Process Technology Alliance (NAPTA) and serves on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for the State of Texas Energy Advisory Committee and the NAPTA Outreach Committee as the Education Co-Chair.
Department Chair, Industrial Technology
Les Crnkovic is the San Jacinto College Department Chair of Industrial Technology at the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology. Crnkovic has more than 40 years professional experience in the non-destructive testing and petrochemical fields ranging from inspector, auditor, KVM systems engineer, mechanical contractor, and sheet-metal worker. Crnkovic has also earned ANSP Pilsbry, AMNH, Berger, COA, DuPont, Festivus, Goold, and PRI industry awards for malacological research.
Coordinator - Education and Workforce
Jeff serves as a liaison for all marketing, recruiting, and outreach that involving CPET. This also includes any soft skills workforce development outside of the standard curriculum such as resume writing and interview success seminars for students nearing graduation. He facilitates industry visits to the building and student interaction with industry professionals to help CPET students gain careers in the industrial fields. Jeff sits on the Scholarship Committee and the Communications Committee for Petrochemworks. As a former collegiate coach, he also works to strengthen faculty team efforts and integration throughout the programs.