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Hurricane Harvey Shines a Spotlight on the Monument Texas Team’s Core Commitments

March 22nd, 2018


Conquering the aftermath of a perfect storm requires perfect planning – and plenty of teamwork, flexibility, and fast thinking. When weather predictions about Hurricane Harvey turned severe in late August 2017, the Monument team in Texas quickly took smart, critical steps to prepare for the storm. The end result? Both of Monument’s sites – Houston and Baytown – were the first chemical producers in the gulf coast back up and running in the wake of one of the most impactful hurricanes in the region’s recent history.

“Because of our commitment safety excellence, we made the strategic – and safe – decision to wind the plants down right before the storm hit,” said Maria Kraemer Gutierrez, Plant Manager, Houston. “This decision – combined with the fact that we are situated in a more ideal location in terms of flooding – put us in a much better position than many of our counterparts.”

The team’s hurricane crew settled in for the storm and committed to taking all measures necessary to ensure the two plants were back on their feet as soon as the rains stopped.

Being There for Customers

The game plan for a quick return to operations needed to be just as coordinated and smart as the pre-storm work. The hurricane crew was quickly joined by employees who were eager to pitch in to ensure customers had what they needed. The team remained flexible and swift as resources became available, and coordinated with each other and with customers to prioritize orders.

“Transportation issues throughout the Houston area required creative options to ship product,” said Dave Hansen, Sales Director, Baytown and Houston. “For example, we were able to pack compartmentalized trucks and source products from some of our storage facilities throughout the country. Since our team is empowered to deliver results, we were able to make those flexible, quick decisions in response to changing circumstances and send our products where they needed to go.”

Being There for Each Other

“It was a humbling experience to see so many of our team members willing to be here to help despite the challenges they were facing personally,” said Jamie Kieffer, HR Manager, Baytown and Houston. “They came together for the site – and also for each other, both at work and outside of work.”

Employees volunteered countless hours of their time to help clean up the homes of their colleagues who were most impacted by the storm. Monument as a company also rallied quickly to provide immediate support to those in need. Between corporate funding and donations from employees and their families, relief efforts raised over $120,000 to support impacted employees. Local HR, including Jamie and Gloria O’Bannon, HR Specialist, worked around the clock to ensure that employees and their families had immediate access to housing, transportation, and supplies.

Lessons from the Storm

The team’s commitment to Monument’s safety and reliability systems paid off – and offered a good opportunity to take a closer look at what went right and what could be improved for future challenges.

 “We hosted several follow-up sessions to identify any areas that could be enhanced – everything from processes to equipment to communications,” said Stacy Johnson, Health and Safety Manager, Houston.

But without a doubt, the most impactful learning to everyone involved was the ability to shine and to deliver results despite the rains.

“Hurricane Harvey was definitely challenging, but the Texas team’s work through the storm and beyond reminded each of us of the power of community and what we can do when we come together – across functions, sites, and even countries,” said Amy Schumacher, CEO. “The resilience and dedication of the Texas team reminded us all of the depth of our commitments – to our customers, to the safety of our operations, and as always, to each other.”

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