A passion for engines, developed from a young age, and Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, led Gary M. Parsons to work in 1981 at Chevron, one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies, then headquartered in San Francisco, California. Now, almost four decades later, Parsons has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual F&L Asia Awards, on 6 March 2019 in Singapore, to recognise his unwavering commitment to the fuels and lubricants industry.
Parsons retired from Chevron Oronite on 31 July 2018, book-ending a diverse career involved in fuels research, consumer and commercial lubricants, product development, strategic account management and business development with assignments in North America, Europe and Asia.
During his acceptance speech Parsons said the award is a culmination of a journey started a long time ago and acknowledged Chevron for placing value on his personal passion for the automotive industry and engines, alongside his educational background. Reflecting on 37 years, Parsons acknowledged the small, tight-knit fuels and lubricants community, where we are “comrades and friends, but at the same time vigorous competitors.”
For the past 13 years, he has held the important role of global OEM and industry liaison manager – leading industry representation across many industry associations and standards organisations in North America, Europe and Asia, including ASTM, SAE, ACC, STLE, CEC, CRC, ATC, AAA, JASO and JALOS. In this role, Parsons has managed a diverse team across key markets where heavy duty and passenger car engine builders are present including North America, Europe, Japan, Korea, China, India and Brazil. Clearly, Parsons has relished his involvement in the industry, telling Awards dinner attendees “if you enjoy what you are doing you never need to work a day in your life.”
Prior to this role, Parsons held several senior management positions within Chevron. As manager, Commercial Automotive – North America Lubricants, from 2003-2005, he administered a team responsible for strategy and marketing program development and deployment for the Commercial Automotive Segment — including On-Highway, Construction, Mining, and Agriculture. As global transport segment director – Global Lubricants Solutions for ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants, Parsons was responsible for global strategy development and synergy capture for the Consumer, DIY, Consumer DIFM, and Commercial segments, immediately following the merger between Chevron and Texaco.
Demonstrating strong leadership, technical and business acumen, Parsons has contributed significantly to the additives industry during a distinguished career. Chevron Oronite is a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of fuel and lubricant additives, helping provide solutions to customers globally. Chevron Oronite’s global original equipment manufacturer (OEM) team has forged a strong reputation of professionalism and deep knowledge of the key drivers which impact Chevron Oronite’s business. Parsons has been integral in developing this standing throughout the industry, at OEMs themselves, and within Chevron.
Since 1995, right from the start, Parsons has provided his expertise in helping the inaugural Fuels & Lubes Asia Conference get off the ground. Parsons has provided the F&L Asia management team strategic advice on ongoing technical developments and delivery of the F+L Week conference year after year. Despite his retirement, Parsons continues to maintain ties in Asia, where he consults occasionally.
During a lengthy career, Parsons has also co-authored a German technical paper on injector deposits, two SAE technical papers on port fuel injector deposits and diesel additive concentrates, as well as SAE papers on the impact of heavy-duty engine oils on commercial vehicle fuel economy. More recently, Parsons has presented papers on the potential impact of autonomous vehicles, the sharing economy, and electric vehicles on the lubricants and additive industries.
As a final word of advice, Parsons encouraged young leaders to “follow your passion.” If you do that, times flies, he says.