No Lost Time: Tessenderlo Kerley Facility Celebrates 30 Years of Safety Excellence 

From adding to and enhancing its offering of crucial crop nutrition and protection products, to expanding its presence across North America, much has changed for Tessenderlo Kerley since its founding over 75 years ago. 

One thing that hasn’t changed is its unwavering commitment to safety. Tessenderlo Kerley’s Jupiter Sulphur facility in Ponca City, Oklahoma has exemplified that commitment through three full decades of no lost time.

“Thirty years without a lost-time incident is almost unheard of in today’s world. It just speaks to the philosophy of our company about the importance of safety, which is why safety is one of our core values,” said Tessenderlo Kerley Executive Vice President Russell Sides. “The steps required to accomplish this take a real commitment, not just by our company, but by the people in Ponca City who are committed and dedicated to looking out for each other and operating in a safe manner.”

Jupiter Sulphur was founded in 1984 through a joint venture with Tessenderlo Kerley and Phillips 66. The Ponca City facility is instrumental to Tessenderlo Kerley’s mission of nurturing and enhancing life by converting Phillips 66’s sulfur containing gas streams into much-needed non-hazardous sulfur-based crop nutrition products for growers. The team’s commitment to safety ensures Tessenderlo Kerley’s ability to supply these products without interruption.  

“Thirty years with no lost-time incidents is a huge accomplishment and does not happen by accident,” said Dawn Kominski, Tessenderlo Kerley director of health, safety, environmental and quality. “It has taken effort from every employee, past and present, to follow procedures, wear PPE and stop what they are doing to assess the situation when something is not right. Everyone’s hard work is appreciated.” 

Ponca City Plant Manager Travis Hager said having a team that excels at hazard assessment and risk mitigation, and makes a conscious choice to be safe every day, is what has allowed the facility to reach this point. 

“We’ve all got kids. We spend a lot of time outside and do family events together. We’ve got a great group here, and everyone has a high level of commitment to ensuring that we’re successful,” he said. “We’ve sent people home every day for 30 years in a condition that they were able to return to work the next day. That’s something that not many people can say.” 

Greg Roggentine, president of Jupiter Sulfur, LLC and Tessenderlo Kerley’s senior vice president of operations and technical services, said the 30-year milestone represents an ongoing commitment to safety that has spanned generations of plant employees, managers and executive leadership. 

“Over that time, the team has experienced many challenges, including large turnarounds, inclement weather, power outages, plant upsets and expansions,” he said. “The Ponca City team has demonstrated their willingness and ability to meet the challenges in a professional, safe manner that we can all be proud of.” 

On April 13, Ponca City celebrated its 30-year milestone with Tessenderlo Kerley and Phillips 66 management team members, in a day of festivities that included Q&A roundtable discussions, BBQ and a “30 Years of Safety in the Bag” cornhole tournament.  

Hager said the celebration meant a great deal to him and the team, and reaffirms the emphasis that Tessenderlo Kerley places on everyone’s well-being. 

“This just solidifies our management team’s commitment to safety. They tell us every day that we have the ability to stop unsafe work, and this is just another example of them supporting that statement,” Hager said.  

“I think this anniversary really sets an example – not just for Tessenderlo Kerley, but for others – because it’s such a monumental task and achievement,” Sides said. “It proves that being safe can be done through discipline and a commitment to each other.”