Evonik’s Waterford, N.Y. Aerosil Facility Celebrates 20 Years Of Safe Operations
Eight Original Employees Still Working At Plant
When Mike Slingerland was looking for work in 1992, he heard about a new chemical plant that was being built on Schoolhouse Lane in Waterford. Working 80 hours a week at an area paper mill and with a family including three infants to support, the Hoosick Falls native applied for a job at Evonik Degussa’s new Aerosil facility.
Slingerland was hired – and still works at the plant today.
This year the Evonik facility will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Saturday, June 23, with an open house, a tour of the Aerosil plant for invited guests and a family-style barbecue.
“I am still with Evonik because there was no reason to leave,” said Slingerland, a process specialist. “When you are hired by Evonik, you stay because it’s a good company with good benefits. There are opportunities for advancement if you are willing to work hard.”
Of the eight other people hired to operate the plant in 1992, seven are still with the company - Mike Tessier, Mike Russell, Fred Gleason, John Christiana, Desi Farrara, Dan Ouimet, John Yakel. The average tenure of workers at the plant is more than 10 years.
“We are very proud of the people at our Waterford Aerosil plant,” said Heiner Rieck, director of manufacturing Aerosil & Silanes at Evonik’s Inorganic Materials Business Unit. “Their continuing hard work, dedication and commitment to safety is exemplary. Safety is at the forefront of everything they do. It’s a terrific plant with terrific employees and we have a good working relationship with our neighbor, Momentive.”
The site is an integral part of the community, added Kevin F. Jordan, plant manager, noting Evonik has donated to numerous organizations including local schools, the Police Department (the site purchased bikes for the officers some years ago), Fire Departments, and various community festivals. “We believe in giving back to the community, not only in contributions but in donations of time as well,” he added. “This is our home - a great place to live, work and play.”
Evonik’s Waterford plant has 33 full-time employees and three contract workers who produce Aerosil, which is used in a number of products including toothpaste, deodorant, and automobile paints.
When the plant first opened in 1992, most of the Aerosil produced was purchased by General Electric (GE), which had a large operation next door. (GE later sold the facility to Momentive). “GE would supply us with the raw materials -- chlorosilanes -- and through a combustion reaction, we would produce silicone dioxide and send it by pipeline and truck to the GE plant,” said Slingerland.
Employees at the plant have worked hard to maintain production as well as operate the plant safely. Last year, the site received the American Chemistry Council’s prestigious Responsible Care 14001 (RC14001) certification, which recognizes Evonik’s continuing efforts to improve its environmental, health, safety and security performance.
“We’re proud of what we do here and we want to show our families and others what we produce at the plant,” said Jordan. “So we’re having the open house, a Pig Roast catered by McGrievey’s Restaurant and other activities such as a ‘bouncy bounce’ for the children.”
Catherine Tompkins, plant administrator at the site who lives in Cohoes, said the facility is a great place to work. “I have been here for five years after spending 20 years as executive assistant to CEOs in the corporate world. I am still amazed at how well Evonik treats its employees,” she said. “I ride my motorcycle to work, wear jeans and just enjoy the camaraderie. I fit in perfectly with the crew here. We are like a family.”
Added Slingerland: “Evonik has been very good to me and the other workers. I have been able to give assistance to my three children through four years of college thanks to Evonik.”
For additional information about Evonik in North America, please visit our website: www.evonik.com/north-america.
Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms.
Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2011 more than 33,000 employees generated sales of around €14.5 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about €2.8 billion.
In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.