Chuck Carries on Tessenderlo Kerley Founders’ Commitment to Sustainability
Many companies have recently converted to a green, sustainable business model. Tessenderlo Kerley has lived that mission for over 75 years.
It’s one of Chuck's favorite things about working here.
“The great thing about Tessenderlo Kerley is that we’ve been green since the very beginning. It’s in our DNA,” said Chuck, Tessenderlo Kerley’s Vice President of Engineering and Technical Development. “We’ve always been that sustainable company, way before people ever cared about it.”
During his 30 years with Tessenderlo Kerley, Chuck has worn just about every hat imaginable, including process engineer, project manager, plant manager, plant designer, and manager of the technical groups, including engineering, construction, quality control and R&D.
Those roles have allowed him to fulfill the mission he began as a young man.
“I went to college as a chemical engineer to help the world. I figured that was probably the best way to do it: get in on the inside and do something,” he said. “I’ve grown in my career here, and I’ve gotten to see everything. There’s so much going on that I never got bored.”
In his current role, Chuck helps develop new technologies while optimizing existing ones, and train the next generation of operators and engineers.
In short, he’s continuing the mission created by the Kerley Brothers, who founded the company in Texas shortly after World War II.
“Our founders found ways to use waste byproducts from other companies and turn them into products that were safe and non-hazardous,” Chuck said. “We’re actually trying to make the world a better place, whether it’s sustainable products, or products that are non-hazardous so when farmers use them, it’s very safe.”
Chuck is one of many Tessenderlo Kerley team members with decades of service. He’s had the privilege of working alongside all of them, many of whom have become close friends.
“When you ask me what I enjoy most about this, we can talk about plants and processes and things that we’ve built, but for me, it’s the people that we’ve built,” he said. “This company was built on families. I’ve hired kids fresh out of college and then watch them progress, and all of a sudden, they turn into these amazing people who get married and have kids and further their career. I love seeing that growth and maturation process.”
Chuck’s work at Tessenderlo Kerley is far from done. From plants being able to generate their own power, to creating new, innovative ways to recycle water, the possibilities for sustainable projects are exciting and seemingly endless.
Chuck’s forward-thinking mindset is something he learned from Bob Kerley, one of the company’s founders, before Bob passed away.
“What he always talked about was the fact that they were innovative and they didn’t waste things because it was really good business. It was a way for them to survive being a very small company. It’s a great model for everyone today,” he said. “I enjoy what I do, and I couldn’t imagine doing any other thing.”