Elizabeth Garcia, public affairs manager for Infineum, has joined the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Board of Trustees. The nomination was approved and confirmed by the New Jersey Senate on Nov. 15, 2004.
Robert A. Altenkirch, PhD, president of NJIT, welcomed Garcia to her new position. “Liz is an NJIT-trained engineer whose work in the petroleum and petrochemical industry involved engineering, finance and now public affairs,” said Altenkirch. “I’m delighted that she will bring her enormous range of talent and experience to our Board and helpguide NJIT to its next level of achievement.”
The NJIT Board of Trustees is the legal governing body of the university; its members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.
Garcia, of North Bergen, was born and raised in Cuba and lived nine years under Fidel Castro’s communist regime. She came to America in 1968, looking for freedom, and she settled in New Jersey with her husband, Luis.
When she arrived in America, she struggled with English and, although she had studied engineering in Cuba, couldn't get a job in that field. She worked as a chemist for about two years before she took a job as a design engineer in 1970 with the Exxon Corporation. In the same year, she began work on a master's degree in chemical engineering at NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering. She completed that degree in 1973.
For more than 20 years at Exxon, Garcia was involved in the planning, design and start-up of worldwide refineries and chemical plants. She provided technical advice for the development of new and expanded refinery and chemical process units and implemented steam-systems management programs that identified savings of several millions of dollars in European and U.S. plants. She led risk management programs and was responsible for the development and stewardship of capital investment plans and the appropriation of funds for projects in the Exxon chemical plants in New Jersey.
For the past 12 years with Exxon and Infineum - a joint venture of Exxon and Shell formed in 1999 - she has held the position of public affairs manager. In this role, she has been responsible for the development, coordination, and implementation of the company's government, community and media relations programs, as well as the philanthropic contributions budget. She serves as the company spokesperson and governmental agent, develops and manages crisis communications plans and trains staff, acts as counsel to senior management on media issues, government and community issues and disseminates company announcements to the community.
Garcia has published six technical papers and has received numerous awards from Exxon, NJIT, the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Professional Engineers, the New Jersey General Assembly, the Salvation Army, and the YWCA.
She is an active volunteer in the community and spends many hours helping organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the YWCA, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. She is also a member of numerous committees and boards, including NJIT’s Otto York department of chemical engineering’s Industrial Advisory Board, the Union County Workforce Investment Board - both of which she chairs - Union County College's Board of Governors, the Union County Alliance Board and the Chemistry Council of the New Jersey Board of Directors.
She and her husband, Luis, have two daughters, Elizabeth Ann and Christine.