East Dubuque Celebrates Five Years of Teamwork and Growth

It may not feel like five years, but Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc’s team in East Dubuque, Illinois, has accomplished plenty in its first half-decade of existence.

“It feels like it’s been about three years. Time flies,” said East Dubuque Plant Manager Doug Wilkinson as his plant prepares to celebrate its five-year anniversary. “Our whole team is a great group of guys, and there’s never a dull moment.”

With a population of just 1,500, East Dubuque, IL is part of a tri-state area near Iowa and Wisconsin. Right across the Mississippi River lies Dubuque, Iowa, where many members of the East Dubuque team live and socialize.

The East Dubuque plant manufactures Thio-Sul for Crop Vitality. Thio-Sul helps increase growers’ yields through reducing nitrogen loss, allowing for the roots to have better nutrient uptake. The result is food on all our tables to enjoy.  

“The efforts put forward by the team in East Dubuque is outstanding,” said Tessenderlo Kerley Executive Vice President Russell Sides. “With the plant positioned to meet the needs of growers in the Midwest and Great Lakes states, the impact their production has on the nation’s food supply impacts all of us.”

Wilkinson was promoted from an Operator A at Tessenderlo Kerley’s plant in Wynnewood, Oklahoma to East Dubuque’s assistant plant manager before the plant began operations. He assisted in the interview process to assemble the team he currently heads as plant manager, the position he was promoted to in 2020.

“Our team is all very knowledgeable about their jobs. They’ve got a full understanding of how the plant runs, and how to do analysis of the Thio-Sul we’re producing,” he said. “As far as retaining employees and promoting employees from within, I think we’ve done really well.”

Many members of the East Dubuque team have already moved up. That includes Dustin Allred, who was recently promoted to assistant plant manager, and Mike Lebeau, who moved up from an entry-level position to his current title of Operator A.

“That was a big deal for me, and it’s been awesome for my family,” Lebeau said. “There are opportunities to learn more every single day because we’re dealing with so many different things. It really never gets old. That’s what I enjoy about it.”

The East Dubuque team has built a strong relationship with one another. It’s the main reason Wilkinson believes his team has made the most of its first five years and is well positioned to build upon that success.

“We still have almost all of our original people. They enjoy who they work with. I believe if that wasn’t the case, they probably wouldn’t be here,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot done, but the best is still ahead of us.”