By Alberta Stojkovic
March 11, 2014
We call it “win – win” when a project benefits two people or two groups. It has certainly been a “win – win” partnership that has grown between Lubrication Specialties, Inc., the Mount Gilead business that specializes in fuel oil and additives, and Whetstone Industries.
Lubrication Specialties is just the newest of several county employers who have hired Whetstone Industries employees over the years. The Morrow County Board of Developmental Disabilities salutes several employers in the county along with Lubrication Specialties. Geyers and Save-a-Lot have hired Whetstone Industries workers for over 26 years. Others are: Cardington Yutaka, 13 ½ years; Consolidated Electric Coop, Inc., 14 years; Kroger, 14 years; McDonald’s, 18 years and Sacred Hearts Parish, 3 years.
Lubrication Specialties, Inc. (LSI) owner, Chris Gabrelcik, said he learned about the possibility of working with people with developmental disabilities at a seminar in Ashland last year. It occurred to him that there might be several tasks at his business that Whetstone Industries workers might do for LSI, which would save them time and increase their production.
The first task that they worked on together was the labeling of “Hot Shot’s Secret” bottles. Hot Shot’s Secret is the LSI Company’s primary fuel additive for getting rid of build-up in diesel engines. Gabrelcik met with Whetstone’s Production Manager, Chris Chandler and took the labeling equipment set-up to Whetstone Industries. Whetstone workers have worked on labeling the bottles for LSI for several months and Gabrelcik is very satisfied with their work.
Chandler said it is a great partnership because they aren’t taking work away from the LSI labor force. They are saving them time and making it possible to increase their production by having the bottles already labeled and ready to go. He said that there are 10-12 Whetstone workers who are trained at the labeling task and they rotate turns.
“The Lubrication Specialties people tell us that having our workers from Whetstone do the labeling has increased their production from 2,000 per day to 2,400 per day,” Chandler said. “Our workers are helping their workers get more production.”
Chandler said that Zachery Morlan and several other Whetstone Industries workers can label 300 to 400 bottles in an hour. He said the industry standard is 320 an hour, so they are working quite efficiently at this task. They earn the average hourly rate of pay, which is somewhat more than minimum wage.
Since they started on the labeling LSI has come up with several more new tasks for Whetstone workers. They are now cleaning the Lubrication Specialties building on a regular schedule and they have also come up with an idea of making a special mug cover.
Operations Manager at LSI, Brenda Lesko, said that they are very proud to be a new partner with Whetstone Industries. This is a part of the company’s efforts to give back to the community. They are very pleased with the work that Whetstone Industries workers do and glad to see Whetstone employees’ excitement for this new work opportunity.
Morrow County Developmental Disabilities Superintendent, Nancy Foglesong, said that March is a month to raise public awareness for the many “abilities” people have regardless of disability. “Ability to work” encourages people to understand that when people with disabilities are welcomed into local neighborhoods, work-places, houses of worship, and schools, everyone wins.