“Buying a house in New Jersey would have been difficult. Here we are building a new house and we have a park right in our backyard.”
As a chemical engineer and a chemist, Michelle Chung and her husband, Stephen, both had promising positions in New Jersey, the hotbed of the oil refinery business in the U.S. But while their careers were on upward trajectories, they knew it would be tough to keep a similar pace with housing due to the cost of living. “We were living in a condo and wanted to buy a house but couldn’t buy the type of house we wanted in New Jersey.” They had a new baby and needed more space. Michelle’s family lived in the Pittsburgh region, and the cost of living is much lower, so a move here made sense for them. In August 2013, Michelle accepted a position in process engineering with Koppers, in Clairton, and they are planning to build a house in Peters Township, Washington County.
It was a good move for them. In addition to being able to afford the house they want, they’ve joined right in on all the region has to offer their family. “I’m a Steelers fan and my husband is a huge sports fan so living in this area with all of the sports is great.” Stephen is playing in an adult soccer league at the Iceoplex at Southpointe in Canonsburg, which is also home to Pittsburgh Penguins practices and a host of youth hockey and soccer leagues. They are also both scuba divers. (NOTE to Bonnie—I’ve placed some awesome photos of the two of them scuba diving in Dropbox/ACCD/Sponsor Profile Photos/Koppers.
As a family, Michelle, Stephen and now one-year-old son Dylan have been to the circus at the Consol Energy Center, Kennywood and Idlewild amusement parks, the Halloween Parade and Festival of Trees in Bridgeville, and breakfast with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. One of their favorites though, is right in their current backyard in Bridgeville—Fairview Park. “It’s great having a park with a playground right outside our back door.”
While at work, Michelle is focused on process safety at Koppers, a global company that produces chemicals, carbon compounds and treated wood products for the aluminum, railroad, specialty chemical, utility, rubber and steel industries. She’s responsible for implementing a process safety management program to prevent unwanted releases of chemicals into locations that could expose employees and others to serious hazards. The goal, she says is, “Keeping the materials in the pipelines and equipment.”