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Meeting aimed at bridging gap between companies and community

&uot;A bridge between management and the community.&uot; That’s the way an Ohio University Southern faculty member described a meeting last week at the university’s Bowman Auditorium.

But the meeting also provided some OUS students with new insight into the world of business and industry.

OUS Director of Applied Business Programs Director Ella Gannon, facilitator for the meeting, said each year, Dow Chemical sponsors a meeting between a top official and a panel of 16 people selected to represent a broad cross section of the the Tri-state community.

Panel representatives included a local doctor,

community organization leaders, other business people and even one high school student.

The meeting was open to the public and was a chance for local people to share any concerns or questions they might have about the company.

The students who attended were members of the applied business program.

Carl Darling, site leader for Dow’s Hanging Rock facility, updated the panel on Dow’s recent changes and explained company values before fielding questions from panel members and OUS students.

Dr. Pacifico Dorado, a member of the community input panel, encouraged the students to ask questions not only of Darling but panel members as well.

&uot;You are the future of this community,&uot; Dorado said. &uot;We represent you.&uot;

One male student asked about Dow’s hiring policy.

&uot;We’re very selective,&uot; Darling told him. &uot;One hundred sixty people applied recently for two positions. Half of them passed the test to determine their qualifications. We have a very low turnover. Very few quit.&uot;

One audience member asked the average age of Hanging Rock employees.

&uot;Forty two or forty-three, something like that,&uot; Darling told him. &uot;We had a wave of retirements in the mid ’90s.&uot;

One female OUS student asked if the company provided educational incentives for employees. darling explained the company does provide incentives if the studies are pertinent to an employee’s job.

Darling told the assembly since the recent merger with Union Carbide, a West Virginia-based company, Dow is now a $28 billion a year outfit that operates 208 sites in 38 counties and employs 50,000.

The corporation produces more than 3,200 products ranging from food items to building and construction materials.

At the Hanging Rock facility, the items produced include construction Styrofoam, plastics and sealants.

It employs 103 full time employees, 103 contract workers, and provides $20 million 400 thousand yearly for the area’s economy. Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune