May 18, 2017
By: Megan McNeary
Mr. Blake Carville holds the title of Finished Catalysts Manager and Scale-up Manager specializing in Synthesis and Polymer Solutions at Albemarle in Baton Rouge, LA. He is originally from Plaquemine, LA.. He is an alumnus of Mississippi State University and graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
After his first college visit, the decision to go to Mississippi State University was not difficult, but it was a shock for his die-hard LSU family. His first experience as a student of MSU was moving into an old room in a building that no longer exists on campus with a roommate who was from Jackson, MS and had an interest in things other than academics. By second semester the roommate had left, and Blake moved into a different room with a friend. He then lived in apartments with friends for his remaining years. Although his first semester was not amazing, the following years at MSU were great.
One memory that stuck out more to him than any other was his Fluids final.
I remember for my Fluids final exam, the professor, Dr. Zappy, allowed us to put whatever formulas we wanted into our calculators. He was of the opinion that if you really wanted to spend that much time typing it all in, go for it. It probably won’t help you all that much anyway. So, like most of my fellow students, we all spent many hours piling fluid calculations into our TI-83. So, morning of the final, I power up my calculator as he hands out the test, and I try to pull up the program that has all these formulas in it. Much to my utter disbelief, they were all gone. None of it was there. So, I quite quickly excused myself to the bathroom and lost my breakfast. I was panicked, but you know, with the time spent systematically typing these formulas into the calculator, I very quickly realized I knew them all. So, I put my head down, finished my exam, and did fine in the class.
Despite this traumatic memory, he now laughs about it, and still fondly remembers his time at Mississippi State.
During college, Blake did a co-op with Georgia Pacific over two summers and one spring semester, which enabled him to graduate within four years. He also did an internship with Albemarle during the summer semester before he graduated. He emphasizes the importance of looking for work experience for those pursuing a career in chemical engineering.
After graduating in December of 2005, Blake landed a job with Albemarle in their Process Development Center. Then, he moved to their research and development group. He also had the opportunity to work in Korea to develop a new plant there. After nine years of working with Albemarle, he is now a manager. The best part of his job has changed over the years. Initially, it was developing new products and seeing the lifespan of that product from a concept to the production line. Today, Blake enjoys seeing new engineers develop over their first few years in a working environment, adjusting from the college life to a working life.
Years after Blake has graduated, many more residence halls have been built to accommodate the growing freshman populations. Regardless of the increasing number of students, he says Starkville still has that small-town feel. Starkville continues to be his home away from home and it feels comfortable to come back. He still enjoys coming back to Starkville to eat at Stromboli’s, the “small, hole-in-the-wall place with the good calzones.”
Blake first became inspired to stay involved with MSU after graduation through the connections he made during his college experience. Even now, 12 years after he graduated, he wants to continue being a member of the Swalm community. Some of his professors still work here, and he enjoys seeing new professors that care about their students and want to help. He described the community as an environment in which everyone wants to help each other succeed. It’s a much more supportive environment compared to other colleges. Blake has found many rewarding experiences in coming back to MSU and recruiting young engineers for Albemarle. His good college experience motivates him to give back to the university by being an active alumnus. The loyalty within the community and the school spirit is what has him returning.
Despite his family’s tie to LSU, Blake hopes that Maroon and White becomes a new tradition among his own children. He has two children, a 4-year-old boy named Caden and a 2-year-old girl named Aubrey. Blake plans to continue working for Albemarle, and he is excited to be a part of Albemarle’s expansion to Texas, Germany, Korea, and several other locations around the world. His best piece of advice to the freshman in chemical engineering: “Find study partners, create study groups, and Dr. H is extremely difficult but also one of the best teachers at MSU. Also, the Mass and Energy Balances class can be a two-faced subject with one topic being almost too easy and then another being unnecessarily difficult.” Hopefully, many freshman will take this wisdom to heart and tackle their classes as they come, allowing them to pursue their bright futures.