Dow Seadrift operations survey provides feedback on company, community


Dec. 14, 2010 at 6:14 a.m.

Area health care, education and water quality garnered high satisfaction rates in a recent Dow Seadrift poll.

"About 90 percent of people said the quality of life in South Texas is getting better," said Trish Ritthaler, spokeswoman with Dow's Seadrift operations. "This has been an educational opportunity for us."

Ritthaler presented survey findings to about 65 people Tuesday at the Victoria Economic Development Corp.'s Victoria Partnership meeting.

Though not scientific, the annual survey is a chance to gauge public perception and determine areas the company can improve community involvement and the like, Ritthaler said.

This year's study went out to residents in Victoria and Calhoun counties who work in such areas as chambers of commerce, economic development corporations and local government. Of the 137 surveys distributed, about 80 were returned.

Regarding the community, 39.3 percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the availability of jobs in the region, while 19.1 percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the safety and security of neighborhoods and public places in the region.

When it came to perceptions about Dow Seadrift operations, the company came in strong in areas such as making the community a better place to live and bringing products of value to society.

About 34.5 percent of respondents replied with "neither agree nor disagree" when asked whether Dow kept community leaders well-informed, which Ritthaler said showed room for improvement. It might be that information is available but it isn't the right information, she said, or it could be that the information is not easily accessible.

Although the survey ranked employee and contractor safety high at the Seadrift site, some respondents responded with "neither agree nor disagree" or "I don't know."

"That's one area we'd like to have completely at 'strongly agree,'" Ritthaler said. "Because that's something we really care about."

All in all, the results provided a decent look at how many residents view both the company and community, she said.

"That told us we're doing the right things, but there are opportunities for further communication," Ritthaler said. "We're headed in the right direction."



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