Thai Team Helps Restore Threatened Trees, Protect Endangered Species

In September, 2015, employees and family members from the Guardian Glass Rayong, Thailand float glass plant took part in a community activity in partnership with the Air and Coastal Defense Command - Navy area in nearby Sattahip.

The team planted 100 threatened Payung (Rosewood) trees to help enrich the forest area, then went to the Sea Turtle Conservation Center, part of the Royal Thai Navy. The center works to conserve and restore natural resources and the marine environment, as well as protect endangered green sea turtles and critically endangered hawksbill turtles. The team helped clean six of the ponds, part of the sea turtles' nursery.

"This was a great day for the team," says Sanjiv Gupta, General Manager, Asia Pacific. "We felt we made a real contribution to the community. If we don't all do our part, we can't ensure these resources will be around for the next generation."

New Guardian Angels Group Makes Commitment to Southeast Michigan

With five facilities and more than 1,200 employees, Southeast Michigan has one of the largest concentrations of Guardian employees across the company.

Last year, the team decided to leverage that employee base by creating a community outreach program that could be embraced by our Michigan-based Guardian and SRG Global employees and truly make an impact on the local community.

"We surveyed the employees to find out what they are passionate about and where they would like the company to direct its efforts," says Rick Cassiday, Global Vice President of HR. "Thanks to the great response, our outreach group — dubbed the Guardian Angels for Southeast Michigan — is focusing on alleviating hunger, supporting local education initiatives and addressing domestic violence."

Working as a team, representatives from SRG Global's Advanced Development Center and Warren office; Guardian Glass in Auburn Hills, Carleton and at the Science and Technology Center; and Guardian Central in Auburn Hills put together the first event for 2016 — a food drive in partnership with Forgotten Harvest.

Forgotten Harvest's mission is to relieve hunger in Metro Detroit and prevent nutritious food waste. The nonprofit organization collects surplus prepared and perishable food that would otherwise have gone to waste, and delivers it free-of-charge to 280 emergency food providers in the Metro Detroit area.

The Guardian Angels' first event, "Get to the Root of the Problem," took place over a two-week period in March, during which the facilities collected fresh, hearty produce, focusing on root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, squash, etc.) at each of the five Southeast Michigan locations. The facilities competed against each other to see which one could bring in the most food on a pound-per-employee basis.

More than 26,500 pounds of vegetables were collected. Carleton employees took home the trophy with 16,024 lbs. collected — a 39.7 lb. average per employee. Guardian matched the total pounds with a dollar-per-pound cash donation to Forgotten Harvest. The Angels will continue their outreach with Forgotten Harvest by volunteering at the organization's farm and warehouse this summer.

Guardian Glass Team Helps Restore Marine Ecology in Thailand

Over 50 Guardian Glass employees and family members from our Rayong, Thailand float glass plant volunteered at the Pra-sae Bay as part of a recent ecology learning and community clean-up project.

The team first planted 500 mangroves in the area. The mangroves, which grow in the waterlogged soil, serve as a natural wave barrier for the bay and are home to sea and aquatic life including crabs, fish and shrimp that serve as a food source for many locals. Maintaining the mangrove plantation helps to restore the area’s marine ecology.

The team went on to clean up the beach and repair a wooden bridge in an area that tourists and community members frequent.

“I am proud of our volunteers that helped to improve such a beautiful attraction in our community,” says Sanjiv Gupta, general manager, Asia Pacific Region, Guardian Glass. “In just one day, we were able to make a positive impact for years to come.”

Youth Entrepreneurs®: Making a Difference One Student at a Time

Guardian has joined Koch Industries and other Koch companies in supporting Youth Entrepreneurs (YE), an educational program that fosters values-based thinking, promotes positive character development and teaches business, economics and Principled Entrepreneurship™ to high school students.

Youth Entrepreneurs is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide students with tools to help prepare them for success in business and other future career and educational endeavors.

“As a company, we want to focus our giving on making the maximum impact in our community,” says Ron Vaupel, Guardian President and CEO. “Employee survey results revealed education is a priority interest across our companies, and we believe Youth Entrepreneurs strongly supports this priority and has the potential to make a major impact on the lives of disadvantaged youth in our home state of Michigan.”

YE was started by Liz and Charles Koch more than 25 years ago. This successful program offers 10th-, 11th- or 12th-grade students a yearlong, elective course with a curriculum designed to improve students’ understanding of business, marketing and the entrepreneurial mindset.

Many companies in Michigan, and certainly across the country, face similar challenges in finding an educated, passionate and engaged workforce. Involving students in Youth Entrepreneurs helps to address this ongoing issue by exposing students to concepts and application opportunities and providing the tools that will help them discover a productive and fulfilling career.

“We think giving kids exposure at an early age to the nature of markets, supply and demand and creating value for customers is critically important to long-term success,” says Mazy Gillis, Director of Guardian’s Market-Based Management® Capability. “What YE students learn provides a pathway to prosperity, whether that means higher education, starting a career or creating a business.”

The students that have taken the course tell the story best: 90 percent say YE positively changed their future goals; 95 percent say the program improved their understanding of entrepreneurship and 95 percent expect to apply what they learned in either their future education or careers. Additionally, YE students have higher attendance rates and increased graduation rates.

Guardian has enlisted two pilot schools in Detroit for the 2016-2017 school year with plans to onboard 10-20 schools in the next two years.

The program is not limited to Detroit and has the potential to be a statewide initiative.

“We want to be wherever these ideas can make a difference in the lives of young people,” says Kylie Stupka, President, Youth Entrepreneurs Foundation. “And where to expand is often based on need and demand.”

Today the program has expanded from its roots in Wichita and Kansas City into Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas and now Michigan.

And, support does not stop after graduation: YE students have access to the YE Academy alumni network which leads to internships and job opportunities; and they have access to online resources and education.

“We want to be part of a solution and make a lasting impact on kids’ lives,” says Ron. “What we’re trying to do is introduce concepts of earned success, entrepreneurship, economic thinking and free market principles. This is clearly in concert with Guardian’s vision to create value for our company, our customers and the communities in which we live and work. We are teaching young people in our region the same values and beliefs embodied by our employees.”

Ecopark Helps Lliria Improve Material Recycling Program

Employees at SRG Global’s Lliria facility, passionate about doing their part to minimize their environmental impact, recently launched “Ecopark,” an onsite industrial material recycling center. Ecopark serves as a collection area, sorting center and distribution point for the company’s plastic, metal and aluminum scrap and other expended industrial materials such as pallets, oil filters, batteries, electronic equipment, bulbs, toners and aerosol containers.

Located on Lliria’s grounds, visitors entering Ecopark are greeted with a detailed diagram explaining the types of industrial waste allowed in the park and a map showing where each material station is located. In front of each station, another sign identifies what materials can be left there, an explanation of the production process that generates the excess material and the proper recycling protocol to prepare it for further recycling or pick-up.

Most of the excess scrap material is picked up by an external company, and in some cases there are costs incurred to remove and process the material. Excess plastic scrap material, however, is processed internally in a special compounding area where the plastic can be smashed, converted into raw material and resold to another company that uses the material in its own manufacturing process.

“We worked together as a team to make sure Ecopark was not only effective from an environmental standpoint, but also efficient and easy to use,” says Xavier MartÍnez, Environmental Manager, Lliria. “We wanted it to create value for the plant, serve as an educational tool and demonstrate the company’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen.”

Already, Ecopark has been a huge success. Originally built to serve as a useful and necessary way for the plant to manage its expended materials and scrap, it now serves as an outreach and engagement tool to connect with employees and the local community. Many primary schools and institutes have visited Ecopark, with more visits planned in the future.

To promote its use internally, a visit to Ecopark is part of Lliria's onboarding process for new employees and mandatory annual training for operators to refresh their knowledge and learn of any new material handling or processing requirements.

SRG Global's Farmington Plant Donates Robot to Local High School

SRG Global's Farmington, Missouri facility is helping develop the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) leaders in its community through a unique partnership with the local high school and an $8,000 donation to purchase a humanoid robot that helps students learn basic to advanced programming skills.

"There's a shared concern that many students do not know what career opportunities exist in the world of STEM, including in the city of Farmington," says Scott Berry, SRG Global Assembly and Painting Manager. "Partnering with Farmington High School is one way we can expose students to various technology disciplines and demonstrate that career opportunities in advanced manufacturing are available right here in their hometown."

The idea behind this partnership originated from a conversation between Scott and his longtime friend, Farmington High School Principal Dr. Nathan Hoestetler. After touring the SRG Global Farmington facility, Dr. Hoestetler realized that many of the manufacturing processes performed there could provide a real-world example for nearly every STEM subject taught at the high school.

"The robotics and coding students could learn from the processes taking place on the molding and assembly manufacturing floor," says Scott. "And the chemistry students could learn from the electroplating process. The biological and environmental science students could also benefit from the processes taking place in the waste water treatment facility."

And the robot, known as NAO (named after its operating system), introduces students to writing and evaluating code while incorporating other real-world learning.

"NAO makes math and computer science real," says Dr. Hoestetler. "The robot teaches students the importance of the STEM skills while having fun at the same time. We greatly appreciate SRG Global's contribution to making this a reality for our kids."

The robot will also be shared with Farmington Middle School to support its Project Lead the Way initiative, a state program that seeks to harness the enthusiasm and energy of middle school students by showing them, through application, how to use engineering skills to solve everyday problems. The program offers 6-8 grade students nine-week learning blocks that expose them to a wide range of technology.

Guardian Angels Focus on Helping Victims of Domestic Violence in Southeast Michigan

The Guardian Angels of Southeast Michigan kicked off its first giving initiative of 2017 with “Hope for Tomorrow,” a campaign benefitting HAVEN, the area’s only comprehensive program for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

One in three families in Michigan is impacted by domestic violence. HAVEN provides shelter, counseling, advocacy and educational programming to nearly 20,000 people each year. Its mission is to eliminate sexual assault and domestic violence and to empower survivors through advocacy and social change.

For this year’s campaign, over the course of a month, Guardian’s Michigan facilities (Corporate, Guardian Glass and SRG Global) set out to collect items for First Night Kits.

Survivors of domestic and sexual violence are often unable to pack a bag when escaping a dangerous environment. Many families come to HAVEN’s emergency shelter with nothing but the clothes on their backs. First Night Kits help provide more than just the basic items necessary for a family’s time in the shelter – soap, shampoo, deodorant, wash cloths, etc. – they provide comfort for the night and hope for tomorrow.

Together, our Southeast Michigan locations provided enough items for nearly 500 First Night Kits for HAVEN guests.Guardian Angels of Southeast Michigan is a community outreach program that brings together the five facilities and more than 1,200 employees in Southeast Michigan to make an impact on the community. The group focuses on three priority areas as determined by employees: alleviating hunger, supporting local education initiatives and addressing domestic violence.

“Once again, the Guardian Angels of Southeast Michigan proved that when we rally around a common vision as a team, we accomplish great things,” says Rick Cassiday, global vice president of Human Resources. “Their efforts to help Haven have been inspiring, and we look forward to harnessing that compassion and generosity for our next giving initiative.”