Alcoa Celebrates 125 Years of Innovation

If you've ever had a drink in an aluminum can, there's a solid chance Alcoa has impacted your life in some way. Now, the aluminum producer celebrates a remarkable milestone of 125 years in business. Their web site explains: "Leading the way for future generations, Alcoa celebrates its first 125 years by setting new standards for breakthrough technology, strengthening communities and growing sustainably. From the world’s lightest planes to the most fuel efficient cars to the sleekest mobile phones, Alcoa innovations accelerate advancements in our key markets."

If you want to learn more about this impressive company, you can read a fairly recent BizVoice article about its Indiana-based Warrick and Howmet operations, or read about its history and see how the world has been changed by its brainpower.

Alcoa Warrick Earns Global Honor for Commitment to Safety, Environment

Alcoa's Warrick Operations has been in Newburgh for over 50 years, and was just honored for its commitment to safety at its corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh. For more information on that achievement, see below. And for more on this impressive employer in southwestern Indiana, read this 2011 BizVoice article about the company. Odds are if you ever drink from an aluminum can, Alcoa has played a role in your life.

Alcoa's top leaders, including Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, congratulated employees from Alcoa Warrick Operations during the corporation's annual leadership conference in Pittsburgh. The event also commemorated the corporation's 125th anniversary.

Warrick Operations won the corporation's global award in the category of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) during the March 18 awards program.

In 2012, Alcoa Warrick Operations had its best-ever safety performance: The OSHA recordable rate for the sprawling facility, which employs nearly 2,000, finished the year at 1.23. That result is significantly lower than the U.S. Department of Labor's reported rate of 3.8 for all businesses, including government.

The OSHA Recordable Injury Rate is determined by multiplying the number of recordable injuries by 200,000 and then dividing by total work hours. A recordable injury can range from minor injuries such as muscle strain/sprain or an injury that could result in lost work time. There were no lost workday injuries at Warrick Operations in 2012.

"This strong safety performance happened through the collective effort of our workforce — employees who consistently focus on working safely, watching out for each other, and using proven and robust safety systems and tools," said Ed Hemmersbach, the V.P. of Alcoa Global Packaging. "It's excellent to receive this level of recognition from the highest levels of our corporation, and we'll continue to share safety best practices with our manufacturing peers here in the Tri-State."

At Warrick Operations, safety processes are ingrained in the culture, which includes daily toolbox meetings and pre-task reviews. During pre-task reviews, employees complete a safety evaluation before specific tasks are started. Also, employees are authorized to stop any job if they observe an unsafe condition. Safety takes priority over profit or production. In fact, employees are recognized when they identify an unsafe condition and take action to correct it.

Royce Haws, the Location Manager for Alcoa Primary Metals, said employees are ever-vigilant in identifying and then eliminating safety risks.

"We're proud of this safety achievement," Haws said, "but we also know that one injury, no matter how small, is one too many. So we continue to improve and not rest on previous accomplishments, including this one.

"Importantly, our employees know that it's possible to have zero injuries, and that's our goal every year," Haws said.

Company, Universities Make Eco-Impact in Evansville

Alcoa and the universities of Evansville and Southern Indiana took part in a nationwide recycling contest, with great results for those institutions and the community:

The University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana recycled more than 67,000 pounds of material during the 8-week long RecycleMania contest, which was sponsored nationally by the Alcoa Foundation.

In total, 630 colleges and universities competed in the nationwide contest, which is meant to bolster on-campus recycling rates. This year, 91 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials were recovered during the challenge, which prevented the release of nearly 270 metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions from 53 million passenger cars.

Locally, Alcoa Warrick Operations encouraged the two universities in this challenge through the donation of recycling bins and a $1,500 prize to the school that performed the best on a per capita basis.

The University of Evansville won the local contest, collecting 15.45 pounds of waste for every student, compared to USI’s 5.64 pounds per student. The University of Evansville also finished first in the state of Indiana among the 10 Hoosier schools, and it also placed in the top tier of schools nationwide on a per capita basis, finishing 119th out of 630 schools.

“By building the first two LEED-certified buildings in Vanderburgh County, the Schroeder Family School of Business Administration Building and the Ridgway University Center, the University of Evansville has proven itself to be a community leader on issues of sustainability,” said UE President Thomas A. Kazee. “We’re proud to continue that role with our outstanding performance in RecycleMania.”

The University of Evansville also finished 29th as the Grand Champion – an achievement based on both source reduction and recycling.

The University of Southern Indiana won in one state-wide category to see which school could divert the largest amount of food service organics per person.

 Todd Wilson, an assistant Vice President at USI , said the university increased its recycling during the RecycleMania program. “And we plan to keep up that trend year-round.”

“We’d like to offer our congratulations to UE on their win in the competition,” Wilson said. “But it’s a win-win-win for USI, UE, and the community, as less material went into the waste stream as a result.”

Paula Davis, President of the Alcoa Foundation, said the program was a great success nationally, encouraging tomorrow’s leaders to focus even more on sustainability and waste reduction.
 

Alcoa Behind Major Recycling Effort

Great story here out of the Evansville area. As part of Alcoa Foundation’s global plan to assist the communities in which it resides, it’s joining Keep America Beautiful (in participation with the Universities of Evansville and Southern Indiana) enhance the environment through recycling. Read the details

The Alcoa Foundation has joined forces with Keep America Beautiful to encourage greater recycling among tomorrow’s leaders by sponsoring RecycleMania, an intense, 10-week competition between colleges and universities.

In addition to the Alcoa Foundation’s support of the nationwide program, which includes more than 600 schools, Warrick Operations is sponsoring a local competition between the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana. The local university performing the best in Recycle Mania will receive a $1,500 donation from Alcoa Warrick Operations to further assist the school’s on-campus recycling programs.

“By supporting KAB’s RecycleMania, we want to educate students, professors and the entire campus community about the importance of recycling and inspire people to take that extra step in the dorm, at the library and after class,” said Paula Davis, Alcoa Foundation President.