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.

 



DEML Opens Counseling Practice

Gloria Deml, PH.D, ME.D, BSN of Chattanooga announces the opening of her counselling practice.  She is a 2007 graduate of the National Christian Counselor Association in Sarasota, Fl. and a 2016 graduate from Winchester School of Christian Counseling and Seminary.  Dr. Deml additionally holds a BSN in nursing from the University of Maryland and a master’s in education ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events Nov. 20-24

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21 Red Bank Council Meeting 12:00-1:00 p.m. Red Bank Community Center: Tom Weathers Drive, behind Erlanger North Speaker: Senator Bo Watson Meetings cost $10. .............................. .............................. .............................. .... (click for more)

3 People Shot Early Saturday Morning; 1 Is Killed; 2 Victims Are Known Gang Members

Ladarius Cross, 28, Terrance Careathers, 26, and a juvenile were shot early Saturday morning. Cross was killed.   Chattanooga Police responded to a motor vehicle crash at 5:16 a.m. in the 1400 block of Roanoke Avenue.   Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police Officers located the single vehicle crash with two people suffering for apparent gunshot wounds. The driver, ... (click for more)

Longest-Serving County Official Knowles Is First In Line To Sign Up For New Term

Bill Knowles is one of the longest-serving officials in Hamilton County history, and he's not through yet. County clerk since 1974, he was the first in line on Friday morning to pick up his petition for re-election. Then he beat everyone back with the completed form. Mr. Knowles said, "I ran in 1974 on a campaign of ending the long tag lines. We put in a tag by mail system ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Should Be Problem Solvers Around The City

Re: Roy Exum’s “Stay, Signal Mountain, Stay”  Well this article is something to think about. I think the split could go either way, and Signal Mountain schools would still flourish, as they have done for the past several years. What I'm worried about is why Signal Mountain has not yet had the guts to go be problem solvers at Howard, or Tyner, or Central. Why do ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The School Board Bullies

When the good people of Signal Mountain join with their loved ones to give thanks for many, many blessings on this hallowed Thursday, you can bet the Hamilton County Department of Education will be on nary a list. For the past year a diligent advisory committee has studied the feasibility of forming its own school district and exactly one week prior to Thanksgiving, the misguided ... (click for more)