Member Spotlight

Dave Roland, General Manager — Marathon Petroleum Company, LP, Detroit

MY BUSINESS…MYSELF

I joined Marathon in 1987 after earning my Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan. I started at the Detroit Refinery as a process engineer. My career has taken me to several locations within Marathon and in a variety of managerial positions. Relocating is always difficult, but it allowed me to work for many strong leaders and to understand the refining business. In 2015, I was asked to return to my home to lead the Detroit Refinery as General Manager.

Based in Findlay, Ohio, Marathon Petroleum is the second-largest petroleum refiner in the United States. Marathon’s presence in Michigan dates back to 1959 when the Ohio Oil Company bought the Aurora Gasoline Company and refinery from Max Fisher. The company was renamed Marathon Oil in 1962. In 2011, Marathon separated the upstream business (crude oil exploration and production) from the downstream business (refining, transportation and marketing), forming two independent companies: Marathon Oil Corp. and Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC). This has allowed the downstream business to grow at an unprecedented rate.  

The Detroit Refinery processes 139,000 barrels per calendar day and supplies transportation fuels to Michigan and Ohio. It is the only petroleum refinery located in Michigan.

GREATEST CHALLENGE

Oil and gas, and the products that are derived from them, are critical to our economy and our standard of living. If you look around your office or your home, just about everything you touch is made with products that are derived from petroleum. And even those that aren’t, have been brought to stores and warehouses by petroleum-fueled planes, trains, trucks and marine vessels. Likewise, petroleum powers our nation’s massive agricultural industry, making our abundance of food possible. Despite all of these contributions to our prosperity and well-being, petroleum is taken for granted or, worse, even vilified by people who benefit from it every day.

Our challenge, therefore, is to make sure people understand that the energy density, portability, reliability and affordability of petroleum fuels can’t be matched by alternative sources, and that we are manufacturing these fuels more cleanly, efficiently, and safely than ever before. 

GREATEST OPPORTUNITY

As an industry, we continue to develop and deploy technologies that make our refineries and transportation networks as safe and environmentally responsible as possible. At Marathon Petroleum, we truly see this as an opportunity. We have invested billions of dollars on environmental technologies to reduce emissions. I am proud of the fact that the Detroit Refinery has dramatically reduced its emissions from when I started my career 30 years ago, even as our crude oil processing capacity has nearly doubled since then. Company-wide, Marathon Petroleum’s crude oil processing capacity has increased by 400,000 barrels per day since 2002, while our greenhouse gas emissions have remained essentially flat during that period. 

WHY I BELONG TO THE CHAMBER

After visiting with (Michigan Chamber President & CEO) Rich Studley, I felt it was important that Marathon Petroleum be represented on issues that impact manufacturers here in Michigan. The Chamber represents business and growth here in Michigan. They are out in front of most legislative issues or ballot initiatives. They are well-connected with state leaders and provide guidance that supports a positive business climate. Rich’s team at the Chamber provides an important platform for us to get involved with the political process at the state level.

WHY I SERVE AS A VOLUNTEER LEADER

I have enjoyed serving on the Board of Directors these past two years. Through the Board meetings, I have met several local leaders of manufacturing companies that share the same concerns and interests. I feel this has benefited both me and Marathon Petroleum. I have a network to call when dealing with issues outside of our fence line.

A KEY TAKEAWAY

At Marathon Petroleum, we are extremely proud of what we do to make people’s lives better. Our employees and contractors work hard every day to provide safe, affordable energy that supports our economy and standard of living. Think what life would be like if petroleum and the products derived from oil and gas were not available. Many people take for granted that food and consumer goods will be produced and delivered to stores. Our entire logistical system for moving people and goods depends on petroleum. We help make that possible.