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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Executive Leadership Board

Les Okonek

Retired, BP Exploration Alaska, Inc.

  • B.S. Civil Engineering – Washington State University – 1974

Les is a Washington State native growing up in Grapeview, WA. After graduating from WSU, Les’ first job was with Chicago Bridge and Iron designing and building large above ground storage tanks for the petroleum industry. By 1976, Les left CB&I and started a 39-year career in the oil industry first with ARCO at the Cherry Point Refinery located near Ferndale, WA. In 2002, BP acquired ARCO and Les continued his employ at the Refinery until 2012 when he moved to Alaska and worked for BPXA (BP Exploration Alaska). In May of 2015, Les retired and now splits time between his two homes (Chinook and Grapeview, WA.). He is currently serving his 13th year as a member of the WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture industry advisory board. During Les’ career, he spent 3 years in Caracas Venezuela as the in-country project manager for a $1bn heavy crude oil upgrade facility, 6 years as the Engineering Authority at the Cherry Point Refinery (chief engineer role focusing on process safety), and 3 years as the BPXA Projects and Modifications Manager (small maintenance projects executed on the North Slope of Alaska and Prudhoe Bay. During the course of Les’ 39-year career, he was a fixed equipment discipline engineer, Project manager, and Engineering Authority with responsibility for establishing codes and standards applied to the design of new and modifications to existing refinery equipment.

In retirement, Les focuses his time fishing at the mouth of the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean, maintaining his two homes, and spending time with family.

Les Okonek.