Wacker Employees Head To Germany For More Training

Thursday, March 01, 2012
Lead chemical operator holds plane tickets from Chattanooga to Charlotte to Munich, Germany.
Lead chemical operator holds plane tickets from Chattanooga to Charlotte to Munich, Germany.

WACKER POLYSILICON’s lead chemical operators—who have been training for six months at the WACKER INSTITUTE at Chattanooga State Community College—leave for Germany this week.  At WACKER’s Burghausen plant, these 51 employees will train with their professional counterparts for six months.

 

“We are invested in our employees,” said Dr.

Konrad Bachhuber, vice president and site manager for WACKER POLYSILICON North America.  “WACKER’s economic success is chiefly due to our dedicated employees; it is important to us that we provide conditions which enable them to develop their abilities to the fullest extent.  Our skilled workers enable us to remain innovative and competitive.”

 

“We need a very sophisticated workforce at our plant; this is a highly technical production process,” said Dr. Erika Burk, human resources director for WACKER POLYSILICON North America.  “Their intensive education at the WACKER INSTITUTE coupled with their on-the-job training in Burghausen will truly be a unique overall learning experience.” 

 

Not all WACKER employees, however, are required to travel to Germany for training.  “As these employees are the trailblazers for this plant,” Burk added, “they will need to be trained in Burghausen and bring their knowledge back to train others. This will not be required for our other chemical operators.” 

 

At the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, WACKER employees shared their excitement about traveling to Germany and training on-the-job.

 

“We’re all excited,” said Christopher Barry, who will work with WACKER analytics.  “This is a great opportunity, and I think we’re well prepared.  I am grateful.  There aren’t too many companies out there right now that have this kind of opportunity.  So I think it’s great for the area, and definitely great for me.”

 

“I’m just ready to go,” said Aaron Franckhauser, who will work with WACKER infrastructure. “I’m ready to just get on a plane and get there.  I’m excited about the culture, and ready to get to work.

 

For one week, this group of WACKER POLYSILICON lead chemical operators participated in cultural training as well as 20-30 hours of German language coursework.  Training included topics based on culture, etiquette, business, relationships and linguistic differences.

 

“A lot of it was very interesting,” said Chris Spors.  “Going to a new land, obviously, we’re not familiar with their culture.  We learned about everything from road signs to relationships.  How to best communicate with our counterparts over there was one of the most interesting things to me.”

 

The employees shipped over several personal items ahead of time, including their bicycles for traveling around the city and the plant.

 

“I packed lots of clothes,” said Mr. Frankhauser.  “I’m hoping to find a laundromat with a dryer…but just in case, I packed a lot of clothes.”

 

“I think I packed everything,” said Mr. Barry.  “I don’t think there’s much I forgot.  I sent over my bike, my laptop, a lot of adapters for every electronic thing possible, external DVD players, a phone card…”

 

“I made sure that I had a European map,” said Mr. Spors, “and obviously anything to do with German communication—phrasebooks, dictionaries, cultural books—anything to help me learn the country and how they interact.”

 

“We brought our computers so we can communicate with our friends and family back home,” said Mr. Spors.

 

“I will keep up with everyone on Facebook,” said Mr. Frankhauser.

 

“I will keep a journal,” said Mr. Spors.  “For trips during time off, I will take some notes so I don’t forget.”

 

“The WACKER INSTITUTE prepared me very well,” said Bryan Hurt.  “I think they did a really good job.  I’ve never been associated with a company who will pay to train you, because they want you to do a good job and be safe.”

 

“I will miss the WACKER INSTITUTE,” said Mr. Barry.  “I plan to go back to finish up; I have six more classes and then I’ll have a chemical engineering technology associate’s degree.  I never had a chance when I was younger, so I want to take advantage of this opportunity.”

 

Those interested in learning more about the WACKER INSTITUTE are encouraged to attend a public information session and tour at Chattanooga State.  The information sessions will be held twice weekly through April 23. 

 

Information sessions will be held at the WACKER INSTITUTE, recurring every Wednesday from noon until 1 p.m., and Thursday from 5-6 p.m., in the Resource Room.  These sessions will be held every week until April 23.  Due to the limited number of seats, attendees are asked to RSVP to Deanna Swiney at 423 697-2601.

 

The sessions will include an overview of WACKER and the WACKER INSTITUTE; a tour of the pilot plant and WACKER INSTITUTE facility; and an overview from Chattanooga State student services and engineering technology representatives.

 

For more information about the WACKER INSTITUTE, please visit www.chattanoogastate.edu/engineering/wacker/.  For more information about WACKER, please visit www.wacker.com.

 


Weaver Named BlueCross Director Of Infrastructure Engineering Services

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has named Jennifer Weaver as director of infrastructure engineering services. She was previously director of the office of the chief information officer for BlueCross. In her new role, Weaver is responsible for the company’s infrastructure engineering teams. She will report to David Marckel, vice president of infrastructure and operations within ... (click for more)

Government Operations Committee Reports On Efforts To Be More Efficient

Tennessee’s state government is becoming smaller and more efficient according to a report from Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Bell (R-Riceville) released at a meeting of the group Wednesday in Nashville.  During the 108th General Assembly, which extended from January 2013 to November 2014, the committee terminated 17 agencies, while merging eight and restructuring ... (click for more)

Erlanger To Proceed With Manager Bonuses In 2 Steps; Considering Employee Performance Incentive Plan

Erlanger President and CEO Kevin Spiegel said Wednesday night that the hospital plans to proceed with $1.7 million in manager bonuses in two steps. Current participants in the incentive program will receive 50 percent of the approved 2014 performance plan this month. The remaining 50 percent will be paid to the management group in July 2015. At the same time, Mr. Spiegel ... (click for more)

Man Shot In Chattanooga On Wednesday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot Wednesday afternoon. At approximately 3:16 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a local hospital for a person shot. P olice were advised that a male victim arrived suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. O fficers are attempting to locate a crime scene at this time. Chattanooga Police ask anyone with ... (click for more)

A Letter To The NAACP

I believe when a "unarmed" man is evil, he will try to beat a police officer on his head in hopes to knock him out, in hopes to kill him. We saw the bruises on the officer's face.  This evil force tried to take his gun away from him , Proof was in the autopsy.  Why did Michael Brown  try to take his gun away from him? Exactly, to kill the officer.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Advice: Just Be Normal

Matthew Kerlin, by his own admission, claims to be just a normal guy. But I am of the opinion, after reading his speech following Samford University’s Winter Commencement exercises, that the university’s Assistant Dean for Spiritual Life is a bit more than that. Dr. Kerlin knows college kids well and his advice to the most recent flock of America’s graduates resonates with brilliance. ... (click for more)