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Dow celebrates 50 years; Cabot breaks ground

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By Tim Hendrick

Dow Chemical celebrated its 50th anniversary of production at the Carrollton site with the announcement of Cabot Corp. beginning construction on $89 million dollar plant that will employ 32 people at a groundbreaking ceremony, Friday, Sept. 29.

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Dow and Cabot have been supply partners for more than 30 years, providing each other with different types of silica-based products.

“The longstanding commitment by Dow to its Carrollton site has brought employment and a better quality of life for generations locally, Gov. Matt Bevin said in a news release from his office. “Leaders of both Dow and Cabot know this co-location model creates great efficiency and we are confident they have the resources to thrive in Kentucky’s much improved business climate. I am personally grateful to Dow for reaching its golden anniversary here in the Commonwealth. We are delighted to welcome Cabot to Kentucky, where it can build a legacy to match Dow Corning’s 50 years of economic impact in the region.”

Cabot President and CEO Sean Keohane said in the news release that the new plant strengthens the corporate relationship with Dow, as well as the region’s

economy.

“This is yet another example of our corporate strategy at play as we continue to invest and strengthen our core market capabilities,” said Keohane. “This is a great day for Cabot as we expand our presence in North America by building adjacent to our longtime partner Dow in Carrollton. As leaders in our respective industries with a shared commitment to manufacturing and safety, health and environmental excellence, co-location in Carrollton was a natural fit. We look forward to bolstering our partnership, the local economy and community with our new operation.”

Speaking at the event, Howard Ungerleider, chief financial officer of DowDuPont, said the two facilities would make positive impacts in Kentucky for years to come.

“For 50 years, Dow has been an employer, neighbor and corporate partner in the region. We are proud of how far the Carrollton site has come and excited to recommit to the site with the groundbreaking of the new Cabot plant,” Ungerleider said. “The plant will provide a long-term supply of high quality CAB-O-SIL fumed silica and enable growth of Dow’s silicone products at both our Carrollton and Midland, Mich., facilities.”

Dow’s Carrollton Site Leader Jim Guidarini kicked off the ceremony saying the employees have the key to the success of the Carrollton site. “Fifty years ago operations started with a $15 million investment and 60 employees,” Guidarini said. “Now the site has assets worth more than $1 billion, that is billion with a ‘B,’ and 460 employees. While the original 60 no longer work at the site, the commitment of the those who followed has been tremendous.”

Guidarini said silicones are everywhere and it might be easier to name what does not have silicones in it.

“A year ago June, Dow completed the purchase of Corning’s 50 percent share of Dow-Corning,” he said. “This June the plant announced a $9.5 million dollar, 20 job expansion, to add finishing lines to Building 1201 and preparing the property for the Cabot facility.”

Guidarini also referenced Dow Chemical’s commitment to safety, pointing out that it is the company’s number one priority. He said the Carrollton site posted its best safety record of all time in 2016.

Ungerleider said during the ceremony that Dow had 200 years of service in Kentucky with its facilities in Louisville, Elizabethtown and Carrollton with a combine investment of more than $2 billion.

He said that Dow was always looking at new ways to invest to grow and improve production and the Cabot partnership in Carrollton was a perfect example.

Always a supporter of education, Dow made an investment in the new Jefferson Community and Technical College Carrollton Campus and is proud to be a part of that effort said Ungerleider.

Keohane said the collaborative fence-line partnership would provide a closed loop system that reduces transportation risks, increases manufacturing efficiencies and reduces waste.

He said Cabot also brings a proud tradition of community outreach programs and employee support. Cabot is also a leader in employee safety, Keohane said. “You can see that the companies share a number of values.”

Bevin, a businessman prior to becoming governor, told the crowd that he appreciates making things, producing tangible items. His goal is to make Kentucky a center of excellence for engineering and manufacturing. He asked if you were in Europe and need something engineered and manufactured where would you go. The consensus answer from the crowd was Germany.

“If you were in the United States, it could be any number of states,” Bevin said. “Nobody owns it, there is no reason why Kentucky cannot own it.”

Bevin said that he had signed a law that sunsets regulations after seven years until the legislature reaffirms the regulation because there is no reason for these to sit on the books for years and prevent businesses from coming to Kentucky.

This is all part of the Red Tape reduction initiative Bevin said is needed for businesses to thrive in the state. The Kentucky red tape reduction website, www.redtapereduction.com, reports that 2,208 of more than 4,700 regulations have been reviewed with 182 repealed, 344 targeted for repeal, 211 amended and 540 targeted for amendment.

OSHA recognition

Dow celebrated a second anniversary during the ceremony as it completed its 20th year in the OSHA Voluntary Protection Partnership. Dow was the first industry in the state to achieve VPP status and is one of 11 industries in the state to hold the status. Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey presented the 20-year award to Ungerleider.

“I cannot image the millions of hours spent on developing and maintaining safety procedures in the 50 years the site has been in operation,” Ramsey said.

The Labor Cabinet’s website said the Voluntary Protection Partnership of Kentucky is a program offered by the Division of Education and Training to recognize and promote exemplary safety and health performance in the workplace. Participants must meet rigorous qualifying criteria and undergo an extensive on-site evaluation in order to be certified as a program participant. The program is very similar to federal OSHA’s VPP program and includes removal from the general scheduled inspection list.

Kentucky Fourth District Rep. Thomas Massie said the Kentucky workforce and transportation system were part of the reasons for the development. He serves on the transportation committee and pledged to keep the infrastructure in place.

Massie also spoke of needed tax reform. He said the last tax reform was 1986 and government no longer needed to live in the 80s. He said details of tax reform are not there yet. He wants everybody to take home more of their paycheck, not sending it to the government.

Local and state officials

The governor’s press release provided comments from local and state government officials that did not speak at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Sen. Paul Hornback, of Shelbyville, noted the role Dow has played in the region over the past five decades.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Dow as the company celebrates 50 years in Carrollton while celebrating Cabot Corp.’s groundbreaking,” Hornback said. “Dow has been a great community partner, and I look forward to Cabot’s economic partnership with the region.”

Rep. Rick Rand, of Bedford, said Friday’s event is about celebrating the community’s past and embracing its future.

“I am proud to join with other state and local officials to recognize all that Dow has meant to us over the decades, and I am pleased to welcome Cabot Corp. as it moves toward becoming a major Dow supplier,” Rep. Rand said. “Today’s ceremony says a lot about our community’s rich past and what is shaping up to be an even brighter future for us economically. I want to thank both companies for their many contributions and look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”

Carroll County Judge-Executive Bobby Lee Westrick said Dow has been a significant corporate partner for the community and expressed gratitude for their latest investment.

“Carroll County is proud that Dow has been and continues to be a vital part of our growing and robust industrial economy,” Westrick said. “Over the last 50 years, Dow Corning and now Dow Chemical have provided high-paying jobs, steady growth in employment levels, safe industrial practices and community investment. We also want to thank Dow Chemical for their efforts to bring new investment and job creation to our community through their relationship with Cabot Corp. Their investment will create additional high-paying jobs that benefit our community and the Kentucky I-71 Connected region.”

Site work is now underway on the new Cabot facility and it is expected to be operational in 2020.