MANGALORE: As part of Dow Corning’s second Citizen Service Corps (CSC) project in India, ten employees from company locations around the world will spend four weeks working on the improvement of technologies used in areca-nut farming, solar energy, and garment production in Ujire (near Mangalore), India, These projects are designed, not only to serve developing communities, but also to gain strategic insights into developing markets, which has become an important part of the corporate innovation process.
“The team is looking forward to experiencing first-hand how to fuel further innovation and sharing fresh perspectives of how our company can grow while making a difference in local communities,” Laura Asiala, Dow Corning’s Director for Corporate Citizenship said INDIACSR.
The 10 participants, selected from more than 60 applicants from various levels and diverse locations of the company, will arrive in India on September 15 and will be divided into three teams.
One team will work with areca nut farmers through an organization called SDM and will observe the current machines and methods used to peel areca nuts. Based on their research, they will develop a proposal for improved methods that may eventually result in a new and better machine for the local areca nut farmers.
Another team will work with SELCO, a social enterprise that works to enhance the quality of life of under-served households through sustainable energy solutions and services. They will research and assess which technologies may be best suited for use in decentralized solar applications.
The third team will work with SIRI, an organization that provides a program centered on the economic empowerment of women through micro-enterprise. The team will focus efforts on a garment-making enterprise to enhance all facets of the program, including end-to-end design, supply chain, marketing, sales and purchasing.
“We were again amazed not only by the willingness, but also the passion of our employees to take on the work of the Citizen Service Corps – outside the relative ‘comfort zone’ of their day-to-day lives to help us discover, serve and innovate,” said Laura.
The 2010 pilot CSC program gave 10 Dow Corning employees the opportunity to volunteer for a month in Bangalore, India, where they worked with three non-governmental agencies involved in energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives. Members of Team Bangalore uncovered more than 40 insights while in-field. Dow Corning has been able to further consider approximately 15 of those insights for potential new products or applications related to Dow Corning strategic markets.
“The impact our first team was able to make during last year’s pilot project and the resulting insights we gained were extraordinary,” said Laura. “We’re thrilled to support a second team, which will help us continue to expand our reach into communities where we currently do not have a presence.”
Members of this year’s Citizen Service Corps team are Laura Benetti, a customs and international trade coordinator in Midland, Michigan; Elsa Chen, a process engineer in Zhangjiagang, China; Warren Draves, a plant operator in Midland, Michigan; Brad Fogg, a business center manager in Midland, Michigan; Anne-Lise Girboux, an associate chemist in Seneffe, Belgium; Bongsik Kim, a business development specialist in Seoul, Korea; Miho Komatsu, a logistics manager in Chiba, Japan; Kathryn Messner, an associate industry specialist in Midland, Michigan; Volker Oehl, a regional market leader in Wiesbaden, Germany; and Chris Vouaux, a technician at the Hemlock Semiconductor Group in Hemlock, Michigan.
Dow Corning in India has worked closely with customers since 2000 to help them be successful in local as well as in international markets. We serve customers across the region from our office in Mumbai and our manufacturing facility in Pune. Our Application & Engineering Technical Services laboratory enables collaboration with Indian customers to provide silicone-based solutions that are new to, or customized for India.
Dow Corning’s community relations activities in India
Dow Corning in India is active in the communities where we live and work – we have constructed anganwadis in the villages of Karegaon and Karde. In Karde, we also provided a solar PV system that provides electricity to the anganwadi, an adjacent village school and a community ground. We worked with the village school in Dhoksangvi to provide them with a laboratory and a library, and also conduct Science Days regularly for local school children and their teachers.