Wynnewood, OK: A Decade of Family, Community and Operational Excellence

Wynnewood, Oklahoma is much more than a small town off Interstate 35 between Dallas and Oklahoma City. Tessenderlo Kerley’s facility in Wynnewood holds the key to crucial crop nutrition products that farmers across America’s heartland depend on.

The Wynnewood facility just celebrated 10 years of operational excellence, generated by a commitment to the community and each other.

“Wynnewood’s teamwork, safety focus and contributions to their community are second to none,” said Tessenderlo Kerley Executive Vice President Russell Sides. “Without Wynnewood’s commitment to all these things, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Everyone at Tessenderlo Kerley owes that team a debt of gratitude.”

Tessenderlo Kerley’s Wynnewood facility takes byproducts such as sulfur from neighboring refinery CVR Energy and converts them into non-hazardous, sustainable products. Its key products are Thio-Sul® for Crop Vitality®, a crucial component in growers’ fight in reducing nitrogen loss in their soil while adding the nutritional benefits of sulfur, and ABS (ammonium bisulfite) for moleko™, an important product for de-chlorination of local water supplies that also neutralizes cyanide used in mines.

“I’m proud to celebrate with the Wynnewood team for their 10th anniversary,” said Greg Roggentine, senior vice president of operations and technical services. “Our Wynnewood facility has successfully provided high quality products for Tessenderlo Kerley and services to our business partner, CVR. During that time, the team has met the challenges associated with operating a production facility attached to a petroleum refinery while being respectful of the community, the environment and its employees.”

Luke Schaper, who served as an operator in Wynnewood before being named plant manager in 2016, is proud of his team’s hard work and innovation in the last decade. For example: In 2018, the Wynnewood team completed a tower vent gas project that allows its Thio-Sul tower to remain at maximum efficiency during annual maintenance and inspection periods.

“That was a big job and I think it served everyone well,” he said. “We’re a tight-knit group, and that’s why we work so well together.”

The Wynnewood team is all about family and community. In late 2022, the facility hosted a class comprised of local business leaders. They discussed their common challenges and opportunities, while providing education about the company’s history of innovation and upcycling waste streams from refineries to make fertilizers that help feed the world.

In February, the Wynnewood team sponsored the Garvin County Junior Livestock Show, which allows future farmers the chance to showcase their animals. The sons of two Wynnewood team members made the premium sale at the event, in which their animals were “auctioned” (not actually sold) as a fundraiser for exhibitors.

“Giving back is one of the ways we remain connected with the communities in which we serve,” Sides said. “The Wynnewood team understands the importance of that connection.”

On April 12, Tessenderlo Kerley’s management team made the trip to Wynnewood to celebrate a decade of excellence. They hosted a Q&A roundtable with the entire Wynnewood team before enjoying a team dinner.

Schaper said his team appreciated management’s celebration of their achievement. He said the friendships and work relationships he has developed at Tessenderlo Kerley are “top-notch,” and will be a key to his facility’s success for the next decade and beyond.

“For me, it’s been the people I’ve worked with and the friendships that I’ve made from it throughout my career,” he said. “They really care about me, and I think that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve noticed and have tried to pass on to our team and the community.”