In 1998, Corey Reed was on the basketball court to witness Radford University history in the making. As a senior and an RU basketball player, Reed was there when the Highlanders won their first Big South championship, placing them in the NCAA basketball tournament.
That exhilarating moment ranks high on Reed’s list of RU recollections, but it’s not the only thing he remembers. There were the lasting friendships he formed and the social life. There was also the tight bond he shared with his professors, relationships that ultimately had a strong impact on his life.
Several months after the championship win, Reed graduated from RU, majoring in chemistry with a minor in math, decisions that were largely influenced by Preston Durrill (now retired), whom Reed met on a basketball recruiting trip. “The impression Dr. Durrill made was critical in my decision to come to RU,” Reed explains. “Since that initial meeting, he has repeatedly given me timely advice when it was most needed. I am where I am today largely in part due to Dr. Durrill.”
Today, Reed (pictured with his wife, Erin) works as a chemical engineer for ExxonMobil Chemical Company, providing technical support as part of a start-up plant expansion project team based in Singapore. His responsibilities include commissioning new equipment, technical training, updating procedures and operating guidelines, and day-to-day troubleshooting.
“The path to becoming a chemical engineer really isn’t an exciting one, but it did take a lot of persistence,” says Reed when asked about his career choice. “Coming out of high school, I thought I wanted to be a chemical engineer. I enjoyed both math and chemistry, so it seemed like a natural fit. Since RU didn’t have an engineering program, I majored in chemistry with the plan of going on to graduate school for chemical engineering. Following graduation, I stuck with my original plan and earned my PhD at Virginia Tech.”
During his three years with ExxonMobil, Reed has held three different positions in the company. “Exxon does a fantastic job of exposing their employees to a variety of roles and responsibilities. I like that I’m always learning new things. The variety definitely makes it exciting, and since this a global company, I have this fantastic opportunity to live in a different part of the world.”
And Reed plans to continue down the road on which he as traveled so far. “As long as my wife and I enjoy what we’re doing and where we’re living, we’re open to whatever opportunities may come along.”