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U.S. Silica Jackson Plant Wins Pinnacle Award

March 8, 2011

by Anna Waehler

On March 8, 2011, the Jackson Plant was the proud recipient of the 2010 Pinnacle Award for Small Industry of the Year from the Jackson, TN Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce hon- ored the best and brightest businesses in the area with the 2010 Pinnacle Awards Tuesday evening. The Pinnacle Awards recognize achievement of area businesses that set the highest standards of accomplishments,” said the ABC7 Eyewitness News staff.

The Jackson Chamber of Commerce hosted a gala for over 300 guests to celebrate the night with great music and food. The Jackson Plant filled two tables with 15 employees and family members.

The Chamber of Commerce kept everything but the actual nomination a secret. The Jackson Plant knew that they were finalists for a Pinnacle Award, but didn’t know for which category it had been nominated or its competition. A video crew came to the plant in February to take a video of the process and people, but affirmed they take a video of all the finalists.

Toward the end of the evening, a representative from Armstrong Flooring, the 2009 Pinnacle Award Winner, announced the winner of Small Industry of the Year – U.S. Silica Company. Im- mediately, the Jackson Plant tables erupted in ap- plause and excitement. The video of the plant began playing on a big screen.

Plant Manager Larry McKibbin, Maintenance/ Production Superintendent Dan Sim and EHS Coordinator Anna Waehler accepted the award on behalf of the Jackson Plant. An emotional Larry introduced and thanked the employees in the audience and discussed the importance of teamwork by quoting Henry Ford: “Coming to- gether is a beginning; working together is a suc- cess.” Anna thanked the Chamber of Commerce and Dan thanked the employee family members present, as they are just as important in Jackson’s success.

The Pinnacle Award for Small Industry of the Year was based on excellence in Capital Improve- ments, Mission Statement, Goals and Objec- tives, Environment and Conservation, Human Relations, Community Involvement, Quality and Productivity and Employee Satisfaction.

In January, Anna Waehler began working on the lengthy application, incorporating various arti- cles, e-mails, production data and pictures, as

well as interviewing employees for dif- ferent categories.

The Capital Improvements cate- gory discussed allocation of re- sources and techniques used to better utilize current equipment. Results included Summer Splash – “A Clean, Painted Plant is a Safe Plant,” installation of bin level in- dicators for more accurate meas- urements, advances in plant automation for equipment trend- ing, and reduction of plant down- time.

The Job Creation/Job Retention category focused on Hugh Mc- Call, Utility Worker, and his re- cent deployment to Iraq. Throughout the year, numerous care packages were sent to Hugh; all items were donated by plant employees. Also in- cluded in this part of the application was infor- mation on Larry McKibbin receiving the Patriot Award and the article printed in The Jackson Sun regarding this award.

The Mission Statement, Goals and Objectives category was incorporated throughout the appli- cation, referencing how the Jackson Plant locally implements corporate programs and policies. In- cluded were customer communications and the importance of building relationships with cus- tomers.

The Environment and Conservation category discussed the benefits of working with Ener- NOC, a local demand response company. An EnerNOC representative said, “By participating in demand response...you provide a valuable service to your community: helping to reduce peak demand and keeping the electrical grid run- ning when it is most vulnerable to blackouts.” Also included was Jackson’s recent decrease in waste management costs from previous years by minimizing sand spillage from conveyor belts.

The Human Relations category emphasized the importance of safety, thorough training of em- ployees, and the numerous articles sent to vari- ous news outlets, like the HourGlass. Jackson’s receipt of the 2010 Sands of Time Award and Safety Partner Award from a local temporary agency was highlighted.

The Community Involvement category focused on Jackson’s participation at a local soup kitchen and homeless day center, as well as the donation of manpower and materials to renovate the light- ing system at a faith-based clinic serving the uninsured and underinsured. It also highlighted projects in the local neighborhood, including yard care, snow removal, and sand donation.

From left, Dan Sim, Larry McKibbin, Anna Waehler with the Pinnacle Award and Certificate

The Quality and Productivity category discussed Jackson’s If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It team and successful plant efficiency competition. The competition encourages de- partments to cut costs, increase production and promote safety, teamwork and environmental awareness. Higher milling and drying through- put and lower maintenance downtime were ac- complished during 2010.

The Employee Satisfaction category acknowl- edged the importance of family. Letters and gifts were sent to employees’ families; because of their support at home, employees can be successful at work. Plant safety celebrations automatically in- clude family.

In all, 16 pages of information and eight addi- tional pages of supporting data, including pic- tures, the EnerNOC case study, and thank you letters, were sent to the Chamber of Commerce. This was a small task considering the pride and honor this award has brought the Jackson Plant.

In 2012, in Pinnacle Award tradition, the Jack- son Plant will have the honor of handing out this award to the next Small Industry of Year.

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