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Strength of Engineering Team Drives Innovation

I joined Chemstar one year ago as the operations and manufacturing director, with responsibility for the continuous and measurable improvement of all our manufacturing operations. The first thing that stood out to me was the quality of our engineering team.

I’m no stranger to working with engineers. For the past 25 years I’ve worked on greenfield and brownfield operations to upgrade or modernize plants. That required working with engineering firms on projects ranging from $120 million in capital investments to a few hundred thousand.

I can say without question the engineering team at Chemstar is the best I’ve been around.

We currently have four engineers. Joe, John and August work out of our Minneapolis headquarters, and Mike in McPherson. They are working on projects that will enhance productivity, particularly at our Brookhaven and Carlton plants. They are also responsible for taking solutions developed in our R&D lab and moving that technology into full-scale production. It’s impressive to see how well they work with the chemists and plant personnel to quickly get this accomplished. Our engineers are great at designing concepts and making them work because they also build the plant system. This hands-on knowledge of the plant floor allows them to bring an idea back to design to make it work.

They also understand the value of being inventive. They work together to utilize everyone’s skills and are constantly bouncing different ideas off each other. Nobody has any preconceived ideas, they all listen to each other and they all pay a great attention to the details. Here are just a few examples of recent projects that have impressed me:

    • Through heating and chemical manipulations, they changed a production process to increase production while improving the quality of a product formulation for a customer, all while lowering costs.
    • They are custom-designing and rebuilding equipment to suit our requirements at the Brookhaven plant. This is a one-of-kind process, and they are working side-by-side with the millwrights to make it work.

The most important thing is they want what is best for Chemstar and our customers.  The way they share ideas, create solutions and work together is remarkable. There isn’t a company or consultant that could have trained them to do this, it is a cultural element instilled in Chemstar’s shared values of Knowledgeable, Inventive, and Responsive.  They have fun every day when they come to work, but also take their jobs very seriously.

The engineering team at Chemstar helps our promise of “Our Science. Your Solution” become a reality. It’s a pleasure working with them and I’m excited to see what new ideas they’ll come up with next.

– Randy Reutzel
Operation and Manufacturing Director