DuPont Chair & CEO Ellen Kullman headlined a list of prominent speakers at a recent program to celebrate the Circleville, Ohio, site’s safe, successful start-up of a new Tedlar® polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) film production facility. The expansion underscores the company’s commitment to help reduce global dependence on fossil fuels through providing enabling materials and technologies designed to increase the adoption of solar energy.
About 140 people attended the celebration event, including employees, local community leaders, elected officials, customers and DuPont business leaders, including Dave Miller, president ─ Electronics & Communications; Willie Martin, vice-president ─ North America Integrated Operations; and John Odom, global business director ─ Tedlar®.
“This is a significant milestone and an appropriate bookend to the multi-phase, $295 million investment DuPont has made in renewable, clean energy – and, in our customers, the photovoltaic industry, Pickaway County and the State of Ohio. Now that’s reason to celebrate!” Ellen said.
Some DuPont Tedlar® customers were also at the event, and several spoke during the program. Neal Holmlund, vice president, Operations & Supply Chain, Suntech America; Brian Grenko, director of operations, Yingli Green Energy Americas; and Tin Xiu Lu, chairman, China Sunergy, congratulated DuPont on the new facility and pledged their intent to continue collaborating with DuPont on providing green energy solutions.
The Tedlar® facility was constructed within the shell of a former DuPont Teijin Film Mylar® film plant. About 72 new employees have been hired to run the Tedlar® line, and the site expects to hire another 50 people over the next 12 to 24 months.
“The investment in the Tedlar® facility has breathed new life into our site,” said Dave Pigion, Circleville site manager.
Prior to participating in the public event, Ellen spent several hours interacting with employees. She toured the new production facility, conducted a town hall meeting with about 100 employees from across the site and learned how the DuPont Production System (DPS) is helping improve site operations during a roundtable with 15 DPS experts.
Several employees who had a chance to interact with Ellen expressed their appreciation to her for her leadership and for supporting the site.
“It was nice to see that our corporate leadership is behind us and willing to help us achieve our safety, productivity and quality goals,” said Brenda Greiner, DPS expert. “To hear the support of our CEO in our DPS efforts was very exciting. It's obvious that Ellen is truly interested in learning about some of the activities we are doing here and in using our success stories to leverage at other sites.”
“It was very refreshing to see that our leadership was so approachable. It also was comforting to hear them discuss the topics that concern us,” said Paul Ross, DPS expert. “Many times I think people in general have a feeling that higher level leadership in their respective companies are out of touch with what is really going on at the shop floor level. After the visit, I can say confidently that this is not the case in DuPont.”
Overall, the DuPont Circleville plant employs about 540 DuPont employees and about 200 contractor employees. In addition to the new Tedlar® facility, the plant operates Kapton® polyimide films, Teflon® films and Vespel® polyimide resins units.