Eyes fixed on the field, Oluwatobi Adeyinka tapped his foot on the sideline turf. It was 2007, mid-season, and the linebacker/defensive end itched to rejoin the fray. Adeyinka was benched due to an ankle injury from the season’s opening game.
Suddenly, his wait was over.
Adeyinka was chosen to play special teams and was put in at a kickoff. With half a season of energy surging through him, he charged down the field, made contact, and knocked an opposing player clear off his feet. The hit complete, adrenaline still pumping, Adeyinka couldn’t hold back his trademark toothy smile.
“That was probably the best tackle of my life,” Adeyinka says.
For three years, Adeyinka donned the Tiger uniform and played alongside teammates he calls his second family. Yet, life as a Trinity student-athlete was never easy. On top of practice, weight lifting, film review, and games, Adeyinka also balanced studies as an engineering science major. He’d chosen the program for its comprehensive approach to the discipline and enjoyed everyday opportunities to be an innovative problem solver.
His favorite course was senior design, where Adeyinka and his classmates brought paper equations to life by building a small biodiesel conversion plant from waste grease.
“My ability to think through a problem and come up with a creative solution stems from the liberal arts background I received at Trinity,” Adeyinka says. “When you enter the workforce, there is going to be learning you’ll do on the job, and the foundation for that is built at Trinity.”
Today, Adeyinka is an environmental engineer at Flint Hills Resources (FHR) in Port Arthur, Texas, where he is the air compliance team lead. He ensures that Clean Air Act requirements are met and develops systems and strategies to discover more efficient and sustainable methods. He also oversees risk reduction and mitigation.
It is a lot of responsibility, but Adeyinka is driven by self-improvement. Honing his technical chops is important to him, as is the development of his managerial skills. FHR, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, produces a wide range of fuels, chemicals, and ingredient products for many household goods. FHR recently earned the 2017 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award, one of the top awards from the Environmental Protection Agency.
“A large portion of my motivation roots from continually working to improve environmental performance,” Adeyinka says. “Being part of the reduction of emissions and helping to ensure that we are the best neighbor possible is all part of the equation.”
Adeyinka was attracted to air compliance by the simple yet profound realization that humans consume air every second of every day. Clean air, he says, is an essential part of life, and any reduction in emissions impacts air quality for the better.
Prior to FHR, Adeyinka was an environmental investigator with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). There, he conducted compliance investigations to evaluate federal and state regulations and responded to oil and gas incidents. He even served as an expert witness for compliance hearings and litigation. This time at the TCEQ reinforced Adeyinka’s decision to become an environmental engineer and provided valuable experience needed to make the transition to FHR.
Outside of work, Adeyinka enjoys life as a newlywed. He and his wife, Alicia, a certified public accountant, were married in January. They live in Houston and love to explore the city’s diverse restaurant scene. They are also avid travelers, with a number of destinations ear-marked on their “next places” list, including Argentina and Chile.
“I have always been known by friends and family as a travel bug,” says Adeyinka, who grew up in Cypress, Texas. “Anytime we have the opportunity to travel, we are ready and willing to go.”
His love of travel comes from a willingness to challenge his own perspective about the world. As a Trinity student, Adeyinka was a member of the Black Student Union and the African Student Association. He also participated in the Muslim Student Association, even though he is not Muslim, to learn more about the faith. Adeyinka believes travel broadens the limits of his world perspective and allows him to meet and interact with great people.
Just don’t ask him to pick his favorite travel destination.
“I hesitate to call any place the best,” says Adeyinka. “They are all unique. Whether it is Canada, Cambodia, Guatemala, or Port Arthur, I can tell you a thousand great things about each.”