Community partnerships are key to economic growth
CHICAGO – Communities across the country understand the value of good paying jobs to their residents but just attracting jobs is only part of the equation.
What matters most is a good community partnership and for 40 years, on Chicago’s Southeast Side in the Hegewisch neighborhood, PVS Chemicals has been a good neighbor to local residents. The plant is continuing this effort by working to dramatically reduce its air emissions, providing high-paying, high-quality jobs, and serving as a good community partner. The plant has an excellent safety record and continues to invest heavily in safety and sustainability.
PVS Chemicals delivers sustainable chemical product solutions for its suppliers and customers, but the plant is a whole lot more.
“It is a huge priority for us at PVS Chemicals to collaborate with our local community organizations, whether it’s the Hegewisch Business Association, our local schools, or the Little League teams. We also got involved with the wildlife habitat council, and we planted trees along the fence line of our plant,” said Plant Manager Sean Dunkle.
The biggest priority this year for PVS Chemicals has been to upgrade the plant environmentally. To reduce their carbon footprint and dramatically reduce emissions, PVS Chemicals embarked on a $14 million project to create electricity from waste steam to generate renewable energy that is expected to cover approximately 95% of all plant electricity needs.
On August 2, PVS announced it will capture waste steam to generate 2.6 megawatts of renewable electricity through a steam turbine. The project should also eliminate over 12,700 tons of CO2 emissions per year, lessen utility interruptions from voltage trips, and reduce purchased water and chemical consumption. As a result of completing the project, 95% of all electricity consumed at the site is expected to be from an eligible “renewable” resource as defined by State of Illinois legislation. This generated energy also ensures that reliable, high-quality chemical production continues so the plant can consistently meet production targets and demand.
The project is expected to reduce the firm’s carbon footprint by 115%
“The new installation will take thousands of tons of CO2 out of the air while simultaneously making the facility sustainable for the long term,” PVS Chemicals’ Chief Operating Officer Tim Nicholson said.
Additionally, PVS Chemicals is proving that being “green” is good for workers and the bottom line. Their Chicago plant employs about 50 people in high-quality jobs, with 38 of those positions being union jobs. PVS Chemicals plans to add 10 new union positions with further investments. The unions represented are the United Food and Commercial Workers/International Chemicals Workers Union Local 5c and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399.
To be a good employer also means investing in neighborhood initiatives, PVS Chemicals has supported dozens of local community organizations. The company planted trees and shrubs along Carondolet Avenue in participation with the Wildlife Habitat Council, which partners with industry to improve green space. This is part of a U.S. Forestry grant and in cooperation with the City of Chicago’s Forestry department.
Each year at its Christmas Party, non-perishable food items and clothing are donated to the St. Vincent DePaul food pantry at St. Florian in Hegewisch. Funding has also been provided to Hegewisch Little League, St. John Youth Baseball, Special Olympics Illinois, St. Baldrick’s Foundation; and the Hegewisch Business Association.
PVS Chemicals is also responding to the nation’s massive shortage of microchips. The company is planning further improvements to the plant so it can produce chemicals for microchip manufacturers. In addition, PVS is currently a major supplier to the water treatment industry in the region, helping to clean up the water before it is sent back to our lakes and rivers.
This post was originally published on patch.com by Travis Akin, Palatine, IL Community Contributor.
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