Having lived and/or worked in more than 60 countries, Ron Stallworth Sr. has adjusted well to the Baton Rouge, La., area and is proud to call it home. Stallworth has served as plant manager of Honeywell’s UOP Baton Rouge facility since October — a time of significant upgrades for the site with yet more investments afoot.
Originally from Mobile, Ala., Stallworth obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Alabama in Mobile and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Singapore campus). He has spent the past 27 years engaged in multiple industries including alternative energy, chemicals, petrochemicals, oil and gas, refining and others. His expertise includes catalyst and adsorbents manufacturing, supply chain management, commissioning new Honeywell UOP-licensed process units in the field, managing UOP’s field technical services, global strategic marketing, general business management and plant management.
“In my current role, I am responsible for the general supervision of all aspects of plant operations including HS&E, quality, production, product distribution and costs,” Stallworth explained.
Additional responsibilities include recruiting, hiring and training personnel; plant upkeep via maintenance and capital improvements; and annual budget planning and execution, including working closely with the different functions to increase productivity and profitability.
“Also, I work closely with corporate functions to make sure there is clear alignment with UOP and Honeywell’s overall goals and objections,” said Stallworth.
UOP and Honeywell
For nearly 100 years, Honeywell’s UOP has been the leading international supplier and licensor for the petroleum refining, gas processing, petrochemical production and major manufacturing industries. Today, more than 60 percent of the world’s gasoline and 85 percent of biodegradable detergents are made using UOP technology.
The Baton Rouge facility is the world’s leading supplier of activated alumina and Versal™ alumina powders, used in the petroleum and natural gas refining industries to remove contaminants such as sulfur, mercury, oxygenated water, fluoride, chloride and arsine.
“In 2012, Honeywell invested significantly to upgrade and expand the Baton Rouge facility,” explained Stallworth. “These investments have been reflected in our improvements in HS&E and economic performance as we continue to strive for excellence in our facility.”
Honeywell recently announced it will invest $208 million in new manufacturing projects at its four production sites in Louisiana. The projects will expand product offerings into catalysts, refrigerants and adsorbents while improving the competitiveness of sites in Caddo, East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes. Of this total, $169 million will be invested for engineering and new production capacity for new products and $39 million will be invested to support ongoing operations.
Specifically, the projects will be at Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies facilities that include fluorine products production operations in Baton Rouge and Geismar; a catalyst production facility in Shreveport and an adsorbent production facility in Baton Rouge for the UOP business unit of Performance Materials and Technologies.
Honeywell is also examining the feasibility of additional Louisiana projects that would bring the total new capital investment at Louisiana company sites to $1.2 billion over 10 years.
The growth is good news for industry, the plant and the Geismar community.
“Honeywell spends about $8.7 million per year for goods and services in the local community to support the operation of the Baton Rouge facility,” said Stallworth. “In addition to our 70 full-time employees and contractors, the plant is responsible for nearly 100 additional jobs in the community. That includes jobs that support the facility’s off-site warehouse, as well as jobs related to security, engineering, construction and raw materials.
“The industry is growing, and we are growing, and that is great news for business, our employees and the community.”
A big part of that growth is doing so safely. Stallworth hopes the knowledge learned on the job will be passed along.
“As part of Honeywell’s overall commitment to safety, we operate under the principles of the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care program — the foundation of health, safety and environmental excellence in our industry,” said Stallworth. “Our focus is on employees going home with a better understanding about HS&E than when they came to the plant. We want them to learn at work and take it back to their homes to create a safer environment there as well.”
The team has earned an excellent HS&E record at the plant — no OSHA recordable injury since Dec. 3, 2007, no lost workday case since July 18, 2003 and no environmental excursion since Sept. 26, 2006.
“The records are important because they are an indication each and every employee is actively working safely,” explained Stallworth. “It is important too we demonstrate to employees we genuinely care about them and their families. This creates the foundation for a trusting relationship, which is needed to cultivate a safe, positive and productive environment.
“People need to know and see they are cared about.”
One of the most rewarding parts
That environment of caring is a way of life for the team at Honeywell’s UOP Baton Rouge facility. Stallworth learned that early on when he joined the group.
“One of the biggest challenges is learning the processes and procedures that enable us to operate safely and protect the environment,” he said. “I’ve been able to learn quickly. My colleagues here at the plant have welcomed me with open arms.
“I enjoy spending time in the plant, and it’s a positive environment for learning.”
The employees carry that involvement over into the community — something Stallworth calls “one of the most rewarding parts of my job.” The plant participates in a number of local industrial organizations, government activities and community emergency response drills, including supporting local fire and police departments, science and math education, and housing and shelter.
“One particular event we participate in is the Dinner Bell Club,” Stallworth explained. “Employees from the Honeywell UOP and Honeywell Fluorine Products plants in Baton Rouge volunteer at this annual event to deliver about 300-400 meals to low-income families in the Capital Area on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
“Being involved in the community and activities that impact the plant is essential.”
As such, Stallworth has held key roles on numerous committees, including the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM — formerly NPRA) Facility Safety Workshop and the program committee for the AFPM Reliability & Maintenance Conference.
“Also, we actively interact with our neighbors through the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, the Louisiana Chemical Association, the Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance and other entities known for knowledge sharing within our industry,” said Stallworth. “These interactions also provide an opportunity to learn from other industries.
“Additionally, events hosted by BIC Alliance provide a very good venue for information sharing.”
Together, Stallworth and the team at Honeywell’s UOP Baton Rouge facility have created an environment well suited to lead them into the future.
“I really like the Baton Rouge area and want our plant to continue providing an excellent working environment for our employees and the community,” said Stallworth.
1200 Airline Hwy.
Baton Rouge, LA 70805
Products: Activated alumina and Versal™ alumina powders
Employees: 70 full-time and contract workers
Size: 36 acres