In the News

Alcoa Recycling goes extreme

Earlier this year, the Extreme Makeover-Home Edition television crew rolled into East Tennessee.


Thousands of local volunteers joined together to help build a home for the Watson family and their three children in just seven days. Alcoa Recycling picked up its “tools” and volunteered its services by donating water in recyclable aluminum cans and recycling bins.


“It’s important to reinforce the value of recycling at special events, such as this reality television show,” said Beth Schmitt, director of recycling programs for Alcoa.


The recycling bins were used for onsite collection of cans and bottles at the work site, the catering venues, and the VIP tent.


“Recycling should be an everyday activity that’s as automatic as wearing a seatbelt when you get into a car,” Schmitt continued. “Our contribution of these collection bins for the Extreme Makeover – Home Edition team was a small way to reinforce the idea that aluminum cans are too valuable to waste, regardless of where they are consumed.”


Cans and bottles collected at the build site were recycled by Waste Connections, the recycling provider which manages the City of Knoxville’s new curbside recycling program which kicked off late last year. Waste Connections outfitted the new home with a single stream cart for easy and continuous recycling now that the project is complete.


The Knoxville taping will air as part of a Thanksgiving special in November of this year.


Alcoa Fire Department unveils new training center

Alcoa Inc. officials were on hand for the unveiling of Alcoa Fire Department’s new training tower.  Community and government leaders, various branches of emergency response personnel and community members gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony.


Alcoa recently made available surplus containers at a discounted price and donated scrap steel—including an access ladder and floor grating— to be used for the training tower.


“Donations of additional materials needed to complete the undertaking came from many area businesses like Alcoa, Inc. These donations made the project a reality,” said City of Alcoa Fire Chief Roger Robinson.


Alcoa is proud to have played a part in training our East Tennessee firefighters. Last year, more than 500 firefighters participated in the Alcoa Fire Department training.


Regional leaders visit Alcoa plant

On March 28, this year’s class of the East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association—a network of concerned leaders that travel to different counties and learn about regional issues—visited Tennessee Operations during a tour of Blount County. Several counties are represented in the ETRLA including Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Cocke, Grainger, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, Anderson, Roane, Sevier and Union. While visiting Tennessee Operations, the class of 2012 learned about Alcoa’s proud influence on this region’s heritage. As part of their visit, the group took a tour of the Continuous Cold Mill.


In the Community

Alcoa Race for Cure team wins big

Congratulations to Alcoa’s Race for the Cure team for winning first place for largest corporate team and first place overall for fundraising in the 2011 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The Alcoa team, made up of 97 participants, raised a total of $16,117 which exceeds the previous year's donation. Fund raising activities included raffles, Bake for the Cure, BBQ contest and auction and Save the Cans t-shirt sales.


Plans are already underway for this year’s Race for the Cure activities.


Alcoa employees ready fields for spring

A group of 10 Alcoa volunteers spent the day at Eagleton Little League helping ready the fields for this season’s games.


The volunteers removed and replaced shingles on the girls’ dugouts, constructed a small structure to secure an electrical panel, repaired a dugout and steps to the scoring booth.


“We love Alcoa’s help,” said Scott Murr, Eagleton Ball Park Commissioner. “The ball park is in bad condition and we appreciate Alcoa stepping up to the plate and helping out.”


As a result of the team’s work, Alcoa Foundation donated a $3,000 ACTION grant to Eagleton Little League for future facility improvements.


Alcoa Communications Specialist named United Way Volunteer of the Year

Communication’s David Lazar was honored as the Volunteer of the Year at Blount County United Way’s annual meeting.  David’s involvement in community organizations such as United Way, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and youth sports organizations earned him the community recognition.


Tipton makes Daily Times

Alcoa employee Travis Tipton was recently featured in Daily Times Progress Edition

Read the article.

McMillen promoted to Location Manager

Ken McMillen, was recently promoted from Operations Manager to Location Manager at Tennessee Operations.  Ken began his career in 1991 at Tennessee Operations and has held many roles within the company.


In 1999, Ken transferred to Warrick Operations where he was Ingot Plant Alcoa Business Systems Coordinator, Casting Superintendent and Ingot Manager. In 2004, Ken rejoined Tennessee Operations as Ingot/Can Reclamation/Railroad Manager and also served as interim plant manager.  Ken has also held the position of Fabricated Products Manager at Warrick.


Former Tennessee Operations Location Manager Chris Jackson has been appointed to a Director role in the Global Rolled Products Center of Excellence for Technology, Engineering and Operational Excellence. Chris joined Alcoa in 2008 at Tennessee Operations, and has been instrumental in improving employee engagement and the focus on maintenance, reliability and quality.

Redevelopment task force formed, making progress

Soon after announcing plans to permanently close the smelter at Tennessee Operations, Alcoa officials had their first meeting with representatives from the City of Alcoa, Blount County, State of Tennessee and TVA to discuss how to best redevelop the Tennessee smelter site for future economic development.
“Participants at the initial task force meeting were pleased that the process began so quickly after the closure announcement was made,” said Mark Stiffler, director of asset planning and management for Alcoa. “We all are hopeful that by working together, the site will be used in the best way possible.”
Among the participants was Bryan Daniels, President and CEO of the Blount Chamber Partnership. “Even though we have 1,300 acres currently being managed and available for development, there is no other site like this one,” Daniels said.  “This site is perfectly suited for another heavy industry.”
Other officials echoed the comments and said that this site has many characteristics that set it apart from other available sites throughout the area including existing railways, proximity to the airport and major interstates and an abundance of utilities such as water, natural gas and electricity.
“Our experience with other sites has shown that the establishment of a task force like the one in Tennessee, which has broad representation and support from key stakeholders in the community, leads to faster redevelopment that is accepted and welcomed by the community,” said Stiffler.
Alcoa’s asset planning and management group is continuing to work with the redevelopment task force on incoming leads. Concurrently, it is assisting Alcoa Rigid Packaging’s management team on the separation of the Tennessee Operations’ South Plant campus.

High school students learn about Alcoa careers

Plant Protection’s Jeff Richardt (r) discusses Tennessee’s fire protection system with Farragut students Zack Snow (center) and Ryan Barrett.

Farragut High School seniors Ryan Barrett and Zack Snow took part in the Farragut Math Academy internship at Alcoa Tennessee Operations. 


The program is designed to provide a job shadowing experience for high school seniors and expose them to potential career opportunities. The students spent time at the plant from August through December 2011, with experiences including everything from learning about metallurgy to calculating storm water flow.


“We got a general look at what goes on day-to-day in a factory industrial setting,” Barrett said. “It was great. You can’t replace what we learned at Alcoa with classroom experience.”


Snow was impressed with what he learned about filtration and external energy created in a reconstructive wetland. “We learn a lot in the classroom,” he said, “but you don’t put it to use until you apply it in a real work experience.”


“These future engineering students now have a real good feeling of what Alcoa does,” Alcoa Environmental Manager Stephanie Sparkman said.


“We not only give students an idea of what a manufacturing environment is like,  this is also an opportunity to connect with local schools and open up doors to grow our potential workforce,” Sparkman added.


Wanda Lacy, FHS Math Department teacher, agrees that the program is a great experience for students. “We really appreciate the opportunity to have our students placed at Alcoa,” Lacy said. “It is an incredible opportunity for them to extend their learning beyond the classroom.  Our math department was very impressed with their knowledge and excitement about their experience at Alcoa.”


While at Alcoa, the students also learned about the company’s community involvement. “I had no idea what kind of influence Alcoa has in the community,” Snow said. “It was good to see environmental responsibility in the community. It’s a good company.”

Alcoa employees attend Governor's breakfast

More than 400 community leaders and elected officials attended the Knoxville Chamber’s Governor’s Breakfast at The Knoxville Convention Center January 23 to hear Governor Bill Haslam discuss his visions and legislative priorities for the upcoming year.


Pictured left to right are Keith Turner, Wren Burleson, Jim Dwyer, Christy Newman, Gov. Bill Haslam, Tim Reyes, Beth Schmitt, Greg Wittbecker and Chris Jackson.


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