Nov. 24 2004 — During a ceremony at the HOVENSA L.L.C. (HOVENSA) refinery last Thursday afternoon (November 18th), officials of HOVENSA presented certificates of completion of training as Refinery Process Operators to twenty-two (22) residents of St. Croix.
In his remarks to the graduates, HOVENSA President & Chief Operating Officer Larry Kupfer told them that they have joined a world class company, the 8th largest refinery in the world. He reviewed the Company's mission, vision and values, which were projected on a large screen. Mr. Kupfer said that the vision is a statement of what the Company wants to be, and the statement of values are the rules which the company will follow to get there. Kupfer noted that part of the Company's vision is "To be the safest, cleanest and most environmentally responsible refinery in the world," and "To be a world class refiner that maximizes profitability ." He told the operators that they each will have a part to play on their assigned process unit in making it possible for the company to achieve this vision.
On the issue of safety, Mr. Kupfer stated that in 2004, through the month of October, HOVENSA and the contractors in the refinery are achieving world class safety performance.
Other persons who spoke during the ceremony were HOVENSA Vice President of Refinery Operation Pete Barba, United Steelworkers of America Local Union 8526 President Gerard Jackson, and Steven Mayers, who spoke on behalf of the graduates and presented several gifts to the Chief Process Operations Instructor, Anthony Bhola.
HOVENSA Manager of Operations Technical Training, Gino LaPointe, introduced Mrs. Melanie Pope to the audience as the valedictorian of the class. He noted that she got a high school diploma, later entered the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), and now had achieved the distinction of being the class valedictorian – while raising four children! Mrs. Pope will shortly complete the course requirements for an Associate Degree in Process Technology from UVI.
When she got to the podium, Mrs. Pope was initially overcome by the emotions of the moment, but she soon gathered her thoughts and spoke extemporaneously. She expressed her thanks to Chief Instructor Bhola who she said always pushed everyone to do their best and even tutored students at his home. She also thanked her husband and her mother, who were both in the audience. She stated that she would not have succeeded without their support and continued encouragement while she attended operator training classes during the day and UVI courses in the evenings. She told her husband, "No one can walk in your shoes!"
HOVENSA spokesman Alex Moorhead stated that by virtue of their successful completion of eleven (11) weeks of training last week, the twenty-two (22) new operators have all been placed as Process Operators "C" by HOVENSA. In that position, they will earn an attractive wage and receive comprehensive employee benefits, including a health insurance plan and a pension plan.
Moorhead said the new Process Operators "C" are:
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