Wacker Employees Head To Germany For More Training

Thursday, March 1, 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.

 


Association Of Fundraising Professionals' Southeastern Chapter To Hold Membership Meeting May 27

The Southeastern Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will hold its monthly membership meeting on  Wednesday, May 27  at the Mountain City Club, located at 729 Chestnut Street, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m .   This month’s guest speaker is Lynne Wester, Founder and Principal of Donor Relations Guru. Ms. Wester is a frequent conference ... (click for more)

GDOL To Help Automation Personnel Recruit Workers In Dalton Next Week

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) will help staffing company Automation Personnel fill 60 jobs for companies with textile plants in Murray and Whitfield counties. The recruitment will be held on  Wednesday, May 27 , from  9 a.m. to 12 noon  at the GDOL’s Dalton Career Center, 1406 Chattanooga Ave. The company is recruiting extrusion, ... (click for more)

City Applying For Federal Grant To Extend River Trail To Moccasin Bend In $2.23 Million Project

The city is applying for a $1.6 million federal grant that would be a key part of the funding needed to extend a trail by the Tennessee River from Renaissance Park to Moccasin Bend. The city is seeking an Eastern Federal Highway Division grant to go along with $234,260 of city funds. The state portion would be $259,692.  Grants from the Lyndhurst and Benwood Foundations ... (click for more)

Flora Tydings Selected As Chattanooga State’s Next President

Flora Tydings is expected to be named the next president to lead Chattanooga State Community College pending approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents at a special called meeting next Wednesday. The board will meet at 9:30 a.m. CDT at the TBR System Office in Nashville. Included on the agenda is TBR Chancellor John Morgan’s recommendation for Dr. Tydings to replace Interim President ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day - And Response

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Great Orthopedic Success

Mark Freeman, the chief of orthopedic surgery at Erlanger Hospital, shared a dazzling look at our area’s Level One Trauma Center Friday morning. Yet, as he described the dramatic changes that have occurred in just the past 12 months, the promise of what will happen within the next year was even more appealing. Believe this, our flagship hospital is getting well in a hurry. “If ... (click for more)