“It was a great night,” said Pat Fuller, president of the Sunrise Rotary. “I was really proud. (Nights like this) makes people want to be part of Sunrise.”
The Gala was able to raise more than $100,000 this year.
Its goal this year was to raise 20 percent over last year’s proceeds, which the organization accomplished — and even exceeded this year’s goal.
“Now we get to give it away,” said Jim Davis, Sunrise Rotarian and president of the Rotary Foundation.
The deadline for applications to be considered for a donation is Sept. 25. For those interested, call Davis at 473-9545 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. An application will need to be submitted.
After the good news about the Gala, the Sunrise Rotary group was presented a brief program updating the status of the Wacker plant in Charleston.
Amanda Plecas, site communications manager at Wacker Polysilicon North America LLC, reported on how the almost $2 million investment in the plant’s development is coming along. Doug Berry, vice president of economic development at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce and Sunrise Rotarian, sponsored the program.
Wacker plans on starting its production sometime at the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014, just in time for its 100th anniversary in 2014.
The Wacker company produces polymers found in products people use every day, from shampoo to gum, etc. A lot has been in the news lately about its ongoing construction, its collaboration with courses at Chattanooga State Community College, and its hiring of hundreds of employees.
“There’s been quite a bit of growth (for the company) since 2011,” Plecas said. In fact, Wacker is the second largest such company of polysilicon in the state of Tennessee. Wacker, with 50 years’ experience in this particular industry, now has 26 production sites worldwide and plants in many countries in addition to Burgenhausen, Germany, its headquarters, and Brazil, India and China, to name a few. More than 80 percent of its sales are outside of Germany.
The Burgenhausen location is similar to the Charleston location in size, so the potential for growth is great. Currently, only about one-third of the land in Charleston is being planned for use in the current stages of construction.
One misconception Plecas hears a lot and wants to clear up is that Wacker does not make solar panels. They make polysilicon that is at its purest level — 99.99 percent pure — that customers of it melt down and slice into wafers for use in solar panels.
Another point Plecas wants to proudly share is that the chemical process used is a closed loop system, which means that the company is always trying to recycle in every part of its production process.
“There is little or no waste,” she said.
More than 30 buildings eventually will be constructed and 900,000 feet of pipe will be installed.
“That’s like to Atlanta and back,” she said.
And, 4 million cubic yards of soil will eventually be moved.
So far, 650 jobs have been created and up to 1,000 suppliers have or will be used. And 90 employees were just hired from the Fast Track Chemistry program at Chattanooga State. Thousands of construction workers will eventually have worked on the completed project.
“That’s a positive impact on the economy,” Plecas said.
Wacker is currently still looking for more employees, in particular maintenance and technical operators, and is always looking for more engineers. Go to wacker.com to apply.
In other business:
— October is Sunrise Rotary’s membership month. Call Keith Munford, head of the club’s membership committee, at 463-2224 or email email@example.com if you know of a person to recommend for the club. Anyone interested in attending Sunrise Rotary meetings and/or in finding out about joining the group, is encouraged to get in touch now while the membership drive is getting into full swing.
— Anna Ginestri, Sunrise Rotary’s current Rotary International exchange student, asked for donations to help the Cleveland High School Lady Raiders basketball team by buying banners to help support the team. For more information or to buy a banner, call Fuller at 244-1000 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.