An interview with Karl J. Boelter, Plant Manager
DuPont Washington Works, Washington, W.Va.
Q: What is unique about the products DuPont Washington Works makes?
A: DuPont Washington Works is the site of DuPont's second-largest manufacturing facility in the world. Since opening in 1948, our site has expanded to include the manufacturing of hundreds of products that primarily supply the construction and automotive industries. The plant also develops materials that are integral to many of the consumer products used daily by American families including toothbrushes, sports equipment, non-stick cookware and paint. Our production efforts are supported by advanced research and technology teams that drive new product development.
Q: What is your company’s history in West Virginia?
A: The land on which our site rests was originally presented to George Washington in 1772 as part of an English land grant.
Washington Works began manufacturing operations with 171 employees. Today, our site is the workplace of choice for more than 1,800 people. Our manufacturing operations reside on about 200 acres of our total 1,700-acre site.
DuPont has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in capital expansion at our site throughout the last decade. We are the largest private employer and the largest manufacturing facility in Wood County. Our annual manufacturing output exceeds 700 million pounds annually. We are a significant part of the DuPont global supply chain and we intend to stay that way for many, many years.
Q: What have been the advantages to your company of locating in West Virginia?
A: At Washington Works, we enjoy West Virginia’s benefits of low energy costs, easy access to rail, highway, river transportation, a high-quality work force and strong community support. Washington Works is centrally located to all of our major supplier and customer bases giving us a competitive advantage.
Q: Can you please speak about the quality of your W.Va. employees?
A: At Washington Works, we strive to create the best possible work environment for each and every person. Economic fluctuations require our employees to remain flexible to meet our customer expectations. Our diverse workforce is made up of devoted individuals in a variety of fields and functions who are all important to our success. We are a team -- inside the plant and in our surrounding communities.
Recently, Washington Works took advantage of the State's Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce Program. With the GGWFP’s support, Washington Works identified job roles, including those of operators, maintenance, engineers and supervisors, in order to understand and improve the knowledge, skills and abilities of employees. This will result not only in higher-quality training but will also improve flexibility in the workforce.