Celebrating Women Shaping History at Ergon

Mon., Mar 11, 2024 | Ergon

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting a few of many remarkable women in the Ergon family. Their dedication, passion and contributions serve as a testament to the invaluable role of women in leadership positions within our company.



Jana Branham

As the Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Ergon Inc., Jana Branham is responsible for all Information Technology (IT) functions throughout the organization and our various business segments. This includes ensuring seamless business operations through effective management of applications, desktops and networks within a global setting.

Before joining Ergon in January 2017, she was a CIO for a company in Memphis, Tennessee. When Branham was recruited for her current position, she found it to be a perfect match due to her extensive expertise acquired over two decades. Branham brings a natural talent for problem-solving, leveraging her technological knowledge to address business challenges. Furthermore, she channels her leadership role into transferring her knowledge and passion to her IT Team.

Branham emphasizes the importance of confidence-building and skill development through volunteering for new assignments and seeking mentorship. According to Branham, through these experiences, “You will develop new skills that you can add to your imaginary tool bag — which in return will allow you to grow as a leader and be seen as someone who is willing and able to take on new assignments.” Moreover, she was involved in the Society for Information Management for sixteen years, serving in various leadership roles such as Community Outreach and Membership Co-Chair. As part of the society, she organized workshops and lectures to promote growth within the IT community. In addition to her professional endeavors, Branham remains involved in community initiatives, currently leading Ergon’s annual Toys for Tots Toy Drive held every November.

Branham obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus on management from Austin Peay State University. Additionally, she holds certifications in Communication Strategies for Senior Leadership from Vanderbilt University and in Leadership from Rhodes College.


Shelly Cowley

Shelly Cowley serves as the Vice President — Technical Operations for Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions (Ergon A&E), where she oversees the Technical Operations Group, regional laboratories and technical activities.

Before joining the Ergon family, Cowley held positions at Koch Materials Company and SemMaterials. In 2009, she transitioned to Ergon A&E as the Technical Director of Technical Operations. Subsequently, she moved to Paragon Technical Services, Ergon’s state-of-the-art laboratory, as the Technical Director of Asphalt Emulsions before assuming her current role as Ergon A&E’s Vice President — Technical Operations in January 2024.

As Vice President, Cowley expresses her love for her team members, who make her job enjoyable. Furthermore, she embraces the challenges inherent on the technical side of the business. Although not initially aiming for a leadership role, Cowley discovered her natural inclination toward bringing together the right people and resources to overcome challenges and provide solutions. She credits her growth as a leader to the guidance of great mentors and the support of Ergon management.

Offering advice to other women interested in leadership roles, Cowley says, “Leadership is not defined by your job title or how many people you manage. Leadership is demonstrated by your actions and words regardless of your role.” Additionally, she encourages others to remain confident in their worth and to seek out mentors who can help in their leadership development.

Cowley holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from the University of North Texas.


Christine Osborne

Christine Osborne is Vice President – Sales & Marketing for ErgonArmor, a division of Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions. In this role, she oversees sales and marketing initiatives for adhesives, sealants, coatings, linings, concretes, pastes and putties used across various applications, such as abrasion and corrosion protection, within industrial and commercial markets.

Osborne joined the Ergon family in December 2011. Since then, she has held positions as the Technical Marketing Manager of Corrosion Engineering and National Sales Manager of Corrosion Engineering for ErgonArmor.

When asked about her favorite aspect of her job, she readily expresses her fondness for problem-solving, a skill she attributes to her engineering background complemented by her interest in psychology. “What can I say? I’m trained in engineering with a psychology hobby,” said Osborne.

Osborne attributes her experience in a university Co-Op Program as pivotal in shaping her career path, emphasizing the mentorship and learning opportunities it provided. Under the guidance of a respected and highly qualified female engineer, she gained invaluable exposure to industrial corrosion, which set the course for her career.

To other women aspiring leadership roles, Osborne says, “Keep track of your successes. Seek opportunities to expand your role and influence. Step up.” She also underscores the importance of understanding human behavior as a critical aspect of effective leadership.

Osborne earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with honors (Cum Laude) along with a co-op certificate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


Bonnie Chapman

Bonnie has served as the Vice President – Product Stewardship at Ergon Inc. since July 2019. In this role, she leads the Product Stewardship Team, providing expertise and guidance across all Ergon companies on evolving regulatory standards related to Ergon’s products. Additionally, she facilitates corporate sustainability initiatives by helping Ergon prepare to meet upcoming sustainability requirements, collaborating to establish One Ergon sustainability goals and promoting dialogue and transparency with individual Ergon business units.

Before joining the Ergon Family, Bonnie and her family lived in Houston, Texas. However, with two young children and missing extended family in Mississippi, she applied for and was offered the position of Business Coordinator within Ergon’s Refining & Marketing business segment (now Energy & Specialty Solutions) in 2011. She served as Director of Planning and Economics before transitioning to her current role with the Corporate Product Stewardship Department.

Bonnie finds fulfillment in passing down the lessons she has learned throughout her career, helping to develop future leaders at Ergon. She is also passionate about her work with aspiring engineers through her university involvement, encouraging them to persevere through the difficult times and to celebrate their successes.

Bonnie offers guidance to women pursuing leadership positions, drawing inspiration from her father’s “short line theory,” which encourages standing out in careers through taking on tasks others may avoid or following unconventional paths. Additionally, Bonnie emphasizes, “Recognize you have value and your contributions make your team better. Always give credit to those who deserve it and say thank you to the people who help you along the way. Give others grace.”

Bonnie earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Mississippi State University and a Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University.


Daniela Castano

Daniela Castano, Vice President of Sales — Latin America for Ergon Refining Inc. (ERI), oversees sales and operations within our Energy & Specialty Solutions business segment for the Latin America region.

Before joining ERI, Castano was the Sales and Logistics Director at C.I. Importex S.A., an exclusive distributor of Ergon products in Colombia. Her tenure there equipped her with extensive knowledge of Ergon products, paving the way for her seamless transition to ERI in June 2019 as the Sales Manager for Mexico and Brazil.

Passionate about discovering and capitalizing on business opportunities, Castano thrives on turning visions into reality alongside her team. Throughout her career, she has actively sought out leadership positions that empower her to support teams and drive impactful change. She attributes much of her success to the guidance and investment from her mentors, emphasizing the importance of employer support in professional growth.

Castano encourages aspiring women leaders to lead by example while remaining authentic and trusting their judgement. “Remember that if you were invited to the meeting room, you deserve to be there, and you have the responsibility to contribute to the conversation,” says Castano. Additionally, she advocates for maintaining focus on overarching goals, fostering teamwork and acknowledging the contributions of those who helped you succeed.

Castano earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Boston University, her finance specialization from Universidad de Los Andes and Executive Leadership Program certification from Inalde Business School.


Kathy Potts

Kathy Potts serves as Vice President – Marketing Communications for Ergon Inc. In this role, she oversees all aspects of the company’s marketing and communications strategies. This includes leading a team of professionals in developing and executing initiatives that effectively promote Ergon’s business objectives and solidify our brand identity and culture.

With over three decades of marketing communications experience, Potts began her career journey at the Ramey Agency, where she excelled as an Account Director. During her tenure, she built brands for a variety of clients — from Viking Range to the State of Mississippi. This position equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of how to cultivate relationships and drive long-term growth among business leaders.

Following this role, Potts joined the Ergon Family in 2018 as the Director of Marketing Communications and was later promoted to Vice President. One aspect of her role that Potts finds particularly rewarding is fostering a dynamic and creative work environment where no two days are the same.

To women interested in leadership positions, Potts says, “Take every opportunity to learn from other women who have navigated the path before you.” Moreover, Potts encourages people to trust their instincts and to step out of their comfort zones while also cultivating respectful relationships among coworkers.

Potts holds a bachelor’s degree in business and journalism from the University of Mississippi and has pursued a master's education in integrated marketing communications at West Virginia University.