Conference Keynote

Alan Rossiter, Rossiter & Associates
Thursday, October 4, 2012, 8:30am-9:15am EDT

Industry and Economics: A Community’s Perspective

Most economists agree that a nation’s strength, stability and security are directly tied to its position as a global manufacturing power. The petrochemical and refining industries are key drivers in the U.S. economy. I’m proud of our history, the products we produce, the jobs created, and, in most part, our connections to the community. My topic today will be regarding the last: the often touchy subject of community value.

The U.S. population has increased by 130 million people over the past fifty years, from 179 million to 309 million. In Harris County alone, the projected growth is an additional 2 million people in the next 15 years. These big numbers represent differing priorities and surely a changing landscape.

I’ll briefly discuss the breadth of our “product line” from fuels to pharmaceuticals. We’ll explore the current business economics and envision the true globalization of the next twenty years and the impact that will have on our community. In this part of the presentation, we’ll engage in a discussion of three critical assets: capital investment, labor force and feedstock (specifically the game changer of natural gas). We’ll conclude this section by examining the impacts of regulations and taxes.

Now that the three foundational criteria of our industry have been assessed, let’s look at the changes in the industry.  I’ll take you back to when each of us began our careers --what our expectations were, where we were in our knowledge base and how we reacted. We’ll consider how that compares with the community today.

I’ll share personal experience combined with interviews from community advisory leaders, TCC executives, elected officials and the plant manager network.  We’ll discuss the perceptions of the NGO’s and successful communications plans directed at improved relationships.  Leadership in the community is no different than leadership in your plant; it takes trust, buy-in, and momentum. So let’s explore these three imperatives.

Character makes trust possible. How are we demonstrating our character to our community? If competence is the “ante to get into the game,” do we communicate that competence effectively? And what action do we take when there is a mistake?

Without buy-in from the community, we have just another internal exercise. So how best do we get buy-in? I’ll share recent successes and a vision for tomorrow.

With enough momentum, nearly anything is possible. We’ll discuss an engaged community led by an engaged workforce and how to set priorities, determine best timing and use your influence appropriately.

To be a successful company, we must take a “Community’s Perspective” and put ourselves in the place of those that we are affecting.

James Griffin

James entered the petrochemical industry in 1981, as an associate engineer for The BF Goodrich chemical division, following his master’s degree studies at the University of Wisconsin.

Since that time he has held positions in engineering, technology, plant management and corporate leadership. In 2005 James left the PolyOne organization (formally BF Goodrich) and accepted the Site Manager position for Dianal America; a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical.

James is currently chairman of The East Harris County Manufacturing Association and serves on various boards in the...