Q1: Which organization(s) are you a part of?
CG: My name is Chris Grimley and I am the Director of Plant Operations at our Rome, GA, Ball Corporation manufacturing facility. We are part of Ball Corporation, Beverage Packaging North and Central America, headquartered in Broomfield, CO. Ball Corporation is a provider of metal packaging for beverage and aerosol products, and of aerospace and other technologies and services to commercial and governmental customers. Founded in 1880, the company employs 17,500 people worldwide at over 100 locations.
Our plant here in Rome produces over 9 billion 12-ounce and 16-ounce aluminum beverage cans for soft drink, energy drink, and beer customers. The plant started up 25 years ago, and has always been a safety-first facility, with highly skilled employees supporting production and warehouse operations in our high-speed, technologically-advanced plant. We operate 24 hours per day, and nearly every day of the year, with 178 employees.
Proud of our rich history, Ball Corporation recognizes that the whole of our community is greater than the sum of its parts. Most importantly, we believe in our people, our culture and our ability to deliver value to our stakeholders. Though we encourage and embrace our diversity of thought, business, location and language, we are One Ball, valuing:
- Uncompromising Integrity
- Being Close to Our Customers
- Behaving Like Owners
- Focusing on Attention to Detail
- Being Innovative
Ball Corporation believes in investing in our communities, because a healthy business depends on thriving communities. Ball’s commitment to the communities where we live and operate has been an integral part of our corporate culture ever since the company was founded. For us, community engagement is how our company and our employees enrich the places where we live and work beyond providing jobs, benefits and paying local taxes. Through the Ball Foundation, corporate giving, employee giving and volunteerism, we invest in the future of the communities that sustain us.
Q2: What does a typical day look like for you?
CG: We try to remove variability from our processes so things run smoothly without any safety, quality, or production issues, and we strive to ensure that our processes are healthy. If our processes are working, then good results follow. However, with that said, there are some unpredictable issues that might arise, or new strategies that we are putting into effect, that make each day different from the rest. We start each weekday with an 8:30 a.m. morning meeting, wherein we follow a standard agenda utilizing data presented through graphs and charts, and review safety, quality, production, engineering, and other topics of the day.
Our goal is to continuously improve from day to day and month to month. WE strive for improvement in safety by engaging with our employees and sister plants, improving our internal and external quality as well as our operating efficiencies. Our most important goal every day is getting our employees home safely.
Q3: What is the most fulfilling part of your work?
CG: The most fulfilling part of my work is seeing that each day our employees come to work and go home in the same condition as they started. Besides safely producing quality cans, giving back to the community brings me a great deal of fulfillment. To see our employees get out in the community and give their time, energy and work to help others in needs says a lot about the type of people that work at Ball Corporation. The teamwork that our plant has as well is phenomenal. Our employees work together to achieve a common goal and to see that teamwork live in action every day is very fulfilling as well.
Q4: What is your favorite memory or story from your volunteer career?
CG: I’ve only been in the Rome plant for about 6 months, so I asked one of my staff members, Mary McDonald, to answer this for me. This is what Mary shared:
One memory is when Jamie Hall and I were volunteering at Action Ministries and re-organizing their warehouse. Gary Chagnon brought a gentleman over that he wanted us to meet. The man’s name was Bill Davies. I had heard of the men’s homeless shelter of that same name and asked if he was that Bill Davies. Of course he was and this started a wonderful conversation around how he got started on the homeless shelter and ended up with their current building. Over the course of the conversation, Jamie and I learned that there was a new women’s shelter being renovated and they needed volunteers for this work. At the same time the Rome plant was looking for volunteer opportunities for our “Who We Are” month and so we were able to assist at the new Women’s shelter too. Over the course of a few days, we were able to lay a lot of flooring, fix some walls, do some dry wall, etc., but most of all experience that camaraderie and joy that comes with working together for a good cause.
Another memory is that for the last several years, our plant has been participating in the “Santa for Seniors” campaign which the Sheriff’s department runs. They collect names and needs/desires of seniors that typically have no family to assist them. The first year we participated, we were assigned about 25 seniors in one of the Medicaid facilities here in Rome. My heart went out to these people as we got requests like soap or toilet paper or Kleenex for their Christmas gifts. It sure brought home to me how fortunate I am. When we went to deliver the gifts my heart was wrenched again as I saw people 3 to a room with very little space for personal items or even clothes. I wondered to myself how they could stand it. It made me want to make their lives better but that task seemed to be overwhelming. I was delivering some bags of candy to the facility the next Easter with no intention of going any further than the front desk because I was afraid that entering the facility meant that I had to speak to every person. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my head saying “Just talk to one person”. That gave me the courage to ask if there was anyone there who needed a visitor. What a blessing that has turned out to be. They gave me the name and room number of a woman who is blind and bedridden and has been for years. She is one of the happiest people I know. I met one of her roommates. She tells me all the time how blessed she is to be there. Over time, I have met many more of the people at this facility and it never ceases to amaze me how they find ways to be happy in this obviously less than optimum situation. It inspires me to be more hopeful and less concerned about myself because they have guided me to know that that is the road to true happiness.
Q5: What would you say to people who say they don’t have time to volunteer?
CG: I’d say you have to make time, make volunteering a strategic priority, give it the same weight as any other work priority or activity. It has become one of the pillars of our business. Besides safety, quality, efficiencies and continuous improvement, volunteering in the community is another pillar that we have as a company. We are very fortunate to be employed by a company like Ball Corporation who remains steadfast in its support of volunteering and giving back to the community in which we live and operate. Our employees know this, and we support them giving of their time to help others in need. It keeps us grounded, and gives us a really good feeling.