MILL HALL - Croda's Mill Hall operation reduced landfill waste by 77 percent in 2011 and is completing a multi-year capital investment aimed at increasing safety at the plant, according to Dave Johnson, vice president of operations for the Mill Hall and Atlas Point, Del., facilities.
Johnson reported this information as part of his annual update to Croda's Community Advisory Council (CAC).
New safety and corporate responsibility goals were established last year that included making significant progress in reducing landfill waste.
Dave Johnson, Croda vice president of operations, discusses facility improvements with Community Advisory Council members Sue Peters, center, and Michelle Walizer.
"From ideas generated by employees, the Mill Hall facility went above and beyond expectations with the 77 percent reduction," said Johnson.
"Croda's Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) Group has a Carbon Footprint Program in place to look at resource efficiency, but this is taking it to a new level," added Charlie Williams, safety, health and environmental manager.
Johnson spoke of the $31.2 million spent in capital investments over the last six years as stressing risk reduction at the plant.
"If you compare the way the facility looked in 2000 and the way it looks today, you would see a huge difference," he said.
The priority in the last few years has been on expanding the facility to move critical equipment further apart. Much of the investment has been on moving and upgrading this equipment with increased safety as the main goal.
Capital investment at the local plant for this year is budgeted at $9 million. This will be spent in completing the risk reduction upgrades and adding new product manufacturing capabilities.
"Future investment will focus on performance improvement," Johnson said.
Johnson provided the group with a review of Croda's performance in the past year. He said Croda International, with headquarters in the United Kingdom, currently employs over 3,700 people worldwide at 19 manufacturing sites.
The company is a world leader in a number of important product ingredients, with about half of their product sales in Europe, another 29 percent in the U.S., 14 percent in Asia, and about 5 percent in the rest of the world. About 54 percent of sales fall within the industrial specialties products division, with the other 46 percent in the consumer care products sector.
"Sales were strong in 2011", he reported, compared to the previous year.
Profits were up because of increased sales as well as cost savings to the company from reduced energy consumption, reduced distribution costs and consolidating functions.
Locally, Johnson said, the company continues to grow.
The Mill Hall facility currently employs 144 people, with positions added last year in the departments of quality assurance, customer care and logistics.
"Employment locally has been slowly, but steadily, increasing and we look for that to continue," he said.
Johnson sees the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry as a "game changer." He noted approximately 16 percent of operating costs are spent for energy. In the past, natural gas was cheaper in other parts of the world, so the chemical industry moved to those areas. With less expensive energy costs and raw materials here in the United States, he predicts the chemical industry will migrate back.
"The Marcellus Shale natural gas will aid in the return of the chemical industry, with innovative, good-paying jobs," he said.
The Croda Community Advisory Council was established in 2001 to better educate the community about Croda and to enhance peoples' understanding of the local manufacturer. The CAC meets every other month, and membership includes people from all walks of local life. Current members are Fred Hoy, Bill McGregor, Gary Mellott, Betty Packer, Sue Peters, Michelle Rae, Nicole Rall-Miller, April Strouse, Eric Stover, Michelle Walizer and Tom Walker.
Croda Inc. operates the Mill Hall manufacturing facility in Bald Eagle Township. A manufacturer of high-quality ingredients used to enhance the performance of products for the home, personal care and healthcare industries, Croda Inc. is dedicated to improving the quality of life. A partner in Responsible Care, Croda Inc. is committed to protecting the health and safety of employees, neighbors and community, as well as the quality of our environment.
Croda Inc. is a division of Croda Intl. PLC, a global company with facilities in Europe, North and South America and Asia.