Everything is bigger in Texas and that includes The Dow Chemical Company.
Dow first came to Texas in 1940, building a plant in Freeport to extract magnesium from seawater. The company’s presence in the state has continued to grow through the years, and now it calls Deer Park, Freeport, Houston, La Porte, Seadrift and Texas City home.
Dow employs people in the state of Texas in areas including research and development, engineering, human resources, technical service, operations and manufacturing. There are manufacturing sites located at Freeport, Deer Park, Texas City, Seadrift, and La Porte. The Freeport site is also a research and development center. Additionally, Dow has a business center located in Houston.
Dow facilities in Texas produce billions of pounds of products each year that enhance the quality of life for people around the globe. Dow products serve virtually every consumer market ranging from food to building and construction and from health and medicine to transportation. These products are used in a variety of end-use products – office supplies, mouthwash, pharmaceuticals, computers, furniture, paints, carpet, garbage bags, cosmetics, chewing gum, lozenges, cleaning products and food.
Dow is committed to the principles of Sustainable Development – working to enhance economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility.
The Dow Chemical Company’s Freeport site is the largest integrated chemical manufacturing complex in the Western Hemisphere. Founded in 1940, Texas Operations was home to the world’s first-ever plant to mine the ocean for magnesium, making Dow one of the largest suppliers for the Allies in World War II. Today the site employs more than 7,000 people and has 65 manufacturing units working together to produce 44 percent of Dow’s products sold in the United States and 20 percent of the Company’s products sold globally. Recently, Dow announced it would be taking advantage of increasing supplies of U.S. shale gas by building a world-scale propylene plant in Freeport and expanding an existing ethylene cracker there. These large investments combined with other projects, including the building of a world-scale chlor-alkali facility, will create hundreds of positions and thousands of construction jobs. Texas Operations is also in the running for another world-scale ethylene cracker to be built at the site
In the late 1930s, Freeport, Texas had everything a chemical company could want - seawater rich in magnesium and bromine, a proximity to natural gas reserves and salt domes, a large harbor and beautiful weather on an important day.
While looking to build an expansion plant on the Gulf Coast, Dow officials, including Willard Dow and Dr. A.P. Beutel, studied potential locales from New Orleans, Louisiana down to Brownsville, Texas. As the coastal tour came to a close, two sites stood above the rest: Corpus Christi and Freeport.
Corpus Christi was a town with hospitals, schools and the infrastructure to support a mass influx of workers. Freeport was a small village in the middle of marshland with little to offer in facilities and services.
With a majority of executives favoring Corpus Christi, a board of directors' meeting was held at Corpus' Driskell Hotel to make a final decision on the future plant's location. But a verdict was never reached as a bitter "norther" blew into town, bringing with it a massive ice storm. The hotel's poor heating system added to the misery as none of the executives had brought clothes for such inclement weather.
The Dow officials were soon on a train to Houston followed by a drive down to Freeport where it was nice and warm. Soon after, March 7, 1940, Dow Chemical bought 800 acres bordering Freeport Harbor. The better climate in Freeport wasn't the deciding factor, but it didn't hurt.
An $18 million plant was authorized by the Dow board. The first load of construction equipment arrived in Freeport by train March 22, 1940, but did not reach its final destination until two days later when the railroad was extended to the plant site. Soon after the track was finished workers began building in the area known today as Plant A.
One of the first Dow plants in Texas extracted magnesium from seawater, which significantly aided the Allies, who were desperate for the metal at the outset of World War II. The magnesium plant came online Jan. 21, 1941, marking the first time that man had mined the ocean for a metal.
By the end of the year, Dow's Texas Division had its own power plant and was producing a variety of products including magnesium, chlorine, caustic soda and ethylene. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Government asked Dow to step up its magnesium production, so a second plant was constructed north of Plant A in nearby Velasco (known today as Plant B). Dow chose to build farther inland for protection against the possibility of a U-boat attack.
As the Texas Division of Dow continued to grow, it became harder for the workers building and operating the plants to find living quarters. So Beutel, the site's general manager, organized the construction of "Camp Chemical," a temporary housing area. At its pinnacle, "Camp Chemical" was the largest city in Brazoria County and home to more than 12,000 people.
With help from the U.S. Government, construction on the project began Feb. 20, 1942, and was completed in a month's time. "Camp Chemical" consisted of more than 2,000 16'x16' cottages for married workers and 46 barracks able to house 120 men each. It also contained a cafeteria that could seat 1,000, a school, a large store, an entertainment hall, a ballpark, a fire house and a police station. Roads, sidewalks, running water, sewer lines and electricity kept it running. Soon after the war ended, "Camp Chemical" was torn down to make room for more plants.
As "Camp Chemical" was being built, Willard Dow, his brother Alden, and Beutel set out to find a location to build a permanent city. They explored nearby areas by horseback, becoming intrigued by an area not far from Freeport that was once the Abner Jackson plantation. A freshwater lake on the property was dubbed Lake Jackson, so the men decided to give their new town the same name.
Alden Dow was put in charge of creating Lake Jackson and in early 1943 workers started to clear the land. By the summer, paved streets such as Winding Way and Yaupon had already popped up. Alden designed Lake Jackson as a home for 5,000 people, giving the city winding and meandering streets because he felt there should be something of a surprise around each turn.
Alden showed his sense of humor by giving many of the streets clever names like "This Way" and "That Way." For homes, people were able to choose from six unique Alden designs. The first residents moved into Lake Jackson at the end of 1943. In 1944, Dow Texas Operations began to ship chemicals by marine vessels to customers all over the world.
In 1948, Stratton Ridge began operations for brine mining and hydrocarbon storage. President John F. Kennedy became a part of Texas Operations' history June 21, 1961, by ceremoniously pushing a button in Washington, D.C. to activate Dow's seawater desalination plant. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson presided over the ceremonies in Freeport.
By 1963 the site covered more than 3,000 acres and was the largest basic chemical processing plant in the world. Texas Operations continued to grow with the building of the first plants at the Oyster Creek facility in 1969.
Today, Texas Operations is Dow's largest integrated site. The four major complexes — Plant A, Plant B, Oyster Creek and Salt Dome — operate as an integrated unit spanning 7,000 acres. The site contains more than 3,200 acres of waterways and pipeline corridors and houses more than 1,900 buildings across the site.
The products manufactured on site are transported by rail, truck, marine vessels and pipeline to customers around the world. Texas Operations manufactures 44 percent of Dow's products sold in the United States and more than 21 percent of Dow's products sold globally. Texas Operations is led by a site leader and a Business Park Team focused on making Texas Operations "The Best Integrated Site for Business Success."
Where does Texas Operations’ money go?
In 2015, Dow distributed more than $1.4 billion locally. Employee payroll and benefits were more than $578 million last year. Dow retirees living in Brazoria County collected more than $90 million in pensions in 2015. Texas Operations purchased more than $685 million in goods and services from Brazoria County businesses last year.
Dow paid more than $73.8 million in taxes in Brazoria County for 2015. Texas Operations donated more than $1.1 million to area organizations last year.
2015 Economic Impact – Texas Operations in Brazoria County
Payroll and benefits to employees:
Pension to Brazoria County retirees:
Purchased materials and services
Taxes paid in Brazoria County:
Home Sweet Home
Dow’s Freeport site has more than 4,200 employees. More than 88 percent live in Brazoria County. Southern Brazoria County is home to 79 percent. Lake Jackson is where most employees live (41 percent).
Sixty percent of Dow Texas Operations employees hold degrees (from 687 colleges and universities). The schools are located in 46 states and 41 countries. The leader in alums is Brazosport College followed by Texas A&M and Houston. The top out-of-state schools are Purdue and Louisiana State. The most popular majors are Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and Process Technology.
Safety is Our Priority
In late 2010, The Dow Chemical Company was awarded the prestigious Robert W. Campbell Award by the National Safety Council. At the state level, Dow’s Freeport site recently received the 2011 Excellence in Caring for Texas Award from the Texas Chemical Council.
Junior Achievement of Brazoria County
Thanks to a collaborative effort between Brazosport ISD, The Dow Chemical Company and Junior Achievement, more than 210 seventh grade students at Clute Intermediate recently got the opportunity to explore career paths, how to prepare financially for their future, basic budgeting and how an education can truly make a difference in their future.
The Dow Chemical Company provided funding and most of the volunteers to go into the classrooms to help students explore personal finance, education and career options based on their own individual skills, interests and values.
Texas Operations employees, contractors and retirees once again opened their hearts and wallets to personally donate a total of $773,000 to the United Way of Brazoria County during the 2011 Texas Operations United Way Campaign. The result was a great achievement for the Freeport site and highlights employees’ willingness to give back to the Brazosport community and support those who need a helping hand.
Dow holds various other fundraisers for United Way of Brazoria County throughout the year, such as chili cook-offs, employee game nights, and book drives, to continue lending support for the many services they offer the community.
When the Dow Team began participating in the MS150 in 1996, they set a long-term goal for themselves – to raise over $3 million dollars to fight multiple sclerosis. When the team rolled across the finish line of the 2011 ride in Austin, that goal was surpassed - and Dow was named to the Top 25 Texas MS 150 Teams ranked by fundraising. In 2011, BP MS150 reported a total of $217,836 raised by the 189 cyclists on the Dow Team. That’s an average of $1,153 per rider, nearly triple the $400 minimum per rider and well over the national average per rider of $900.
The Texas BP MS 150 is a two-day, 180-mile fundraising cycling ride -the largest event of its kind in North America. In 2010, 12,000 cyclists raised more than $16 million for multiple sclerosis and the BP MS 150 has raised more than $131 million since the first ride in 1985.
Sea Center Texas
Sea Center Texas, located in Lake Jackson, is situated on 75 acres donated by Dow in the mid-1990’s and is funded by the Texas Coastal Conservation Association, the Texas Sport Fish Restoration Fund, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Its marine hatchery produces up to 15 million juvenile fish each year – red drum and spotted speckled trout – to stock in Texas bays and to conduct research on stressed fish stocks from Texas waters. The center is one of three saltwater fish hatcheries operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department that as a group release more than 25 million juvenile fish each year to supplement natural fish populations and enhance fishing opportunities along the Texas coast.
Sea Center Texas opened its marine aquarium and education center in March 1996 and the fish hatchery produced its first fish in June 1997. Numerous Dow employees and retirees volunteer countless hours at the Sea Center, and are proud of Dow’s partnership with this organization that has been instrumental in the sustainability of our environment.
Black Skimmer Open House
On the last Saturday in June bird watchers of all ages attend the Black Skimmer Open House at the Freeport site to get a close up of the marine birds. It is a great way to educate people about the skimmers and the importance of coastal habitat preservation. Skimmers are named for their ability to fly just above the surface of the water with their knife-like lower bills skimming along the surface, picking up morsels of food.
Dow’s special relationship with Black Skimmers started in the 1960s when Dow employee Maurice Garner noticed the birds nesting in the parking lot and put up some ropes and barricades to keep them from being disturbed.
The event is free and open to the public and provides the rare opportunity to view one of the largest nesting colonies of black skimmers on the Texas Gulf Coast. Texas Operations is proud to continue that tradition of conserving and protecting the Black Skimmers and their habitat so they continue to return year after year.
Brazoria County Fair
Dow Texas Operations is proud to showcase an interactive exhibit at the annual Brazoria County Fair, one of the largest community events held in the area. Employee volunteers man the booth and educate booth visitors on various products, technologies, and innovations that Dow produces every day.
Dow is also a proud sponsor of the Fair’s Senior Citizens Day, an annual event aimed at showing local senior citizens how much they are appreciated. Seniors compete in events including dominoes, horseshoes, washer tossing and bingo, and enjoy a free barbeque lunch served by Dow employee volunteers.
Dow Texas Operations maintains dialogue with the Brazosport community through its Community Advisory Panel (CAP), which has been in place since 1990. CAP members have the opportunity to ask questions and share information about issues that affect the community and the site. Special attention is paid to ensure that the CAP membership reflects the diversity of the Brazosport area.
The CAP consists of 17 area residents from six surrounding municipalities. In the recent past, Dow officials and CAP members have discussed the State Implementation Plan (SIP), industry economics, industry related asbestos issues, workforce diversity, labor issues, Texas Operations' site security, toxic release inventory data, and prospective projects on site.
The CAP also participates in an annual joint-CAP meeting to hear speakers from other local CAP’s present topics of local interest.
Every CAP meeting features a question and answer period facilitated to enhance the understanding of community issues. Minutes of the meetings are kept on file at the Freeport Public Library.
Dow employees are involved in over one hundred local non-profit organizations, and volunteer countless hours to make a difference in the lives of those in our community. Through various grant programs such as Dollars for Doers and Safety Makes Cents, our employees are rewarded for giving of their time to contribute to the success of our community through volunteerism. Employees can access volunteer opportunities by clicking on “Get Involved!” in the Volunteer Portal on Big Tex. This will take them to Dow’s VolunteerMatch page at http://dow.volunteermatch.org, where there are dozens of community volunteer opportunities available and can be matched with their interests and availability.
Community members do not have access to all volunteer opportunities sponsored by Dow, but can see volunteer opportunities in their area by visiting: www.volunteermatch.org.
Recognizing the importance of education, Dow Texas Operations has partnered with the five local school districts by sponsoring projects and initiatives, and by supporting employee volunteerism.
The 2018 Dow Gives Education Grants Program is now accepting applications, deadline to submit an application is Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 11:00 p.m.
To apply go to https://www.cybergrants.com/dow/applications/naaopensitecycle. If you have used this online application for prior grant requests, please use your previous login credentials. If you have never accessed Dow's grant application before, please email email@example.com to have an account created for you. Be sure to complete all sections of the application.
For more information, please contact Texas Operations Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org
In today’s ever changing world of technology, math and science skills are more important than ever. In the fall of 2015, eight area schools were selected to receive a Dow Gives Education Grant to enhance the science and math programs at their school.
Brazosport College Career Fair
Dow supports this annual event to encourage high school juniors in southern Brazoria County to start planning for college and a career. As many as 90 careers are represented, giving students a chance to talk one-on-one about a variety of opportunities.
STARS (Striving to Achieve Reading Success)
Through this program Dow volunteers to help students at Velasco Elementary improve their reading skills and develop a relationship with a caring adult.
Educating young adults of the value of business and free enterprise is a hallmark of Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement's history in Brazoria County can be traced back to Dr. A.P. Beutel, the first general manager of Texas Operations, who is recognized as a dedicated, visionary leader. Dow continues that tradition today with contributions and employee involvement in the JA in a Day program. Through this program, employee volunteers show a willingness to spend a day leading fun and informative financial literacy activities, games and discussions and sharing their personal career experiences with the students.
Dow Texas Operations was the support behind the launch of the Ignite SystemsGo! rocket engineering classes at Brazoswood and Brazosport High Schools. This two-level course added to the course catalog teaches students to design and build rockets and develops their skills in design, development, testing, analysis, and innovation. First-year students in the class learn how to design and develop rockets to launch a one-pound payload one mile high. Second-year students develop rockets capable of lifting 35 pound loads 100,000 feet in the air.
The Dow Gives Community Grants Program and Dow Gives Education Grants Program is an annual competitive grant program designed to support social, economic, or environmental projects that will enhance the quality of life within communities near the Seadrift Operations site. Applicants must be charitable or non-profit organizations (have a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax designation) or be municipal or government agencies. The program is not intended to provide on-going operational funding. Instead, it is directed at one-time, tangible, re-usable project costs that relate to long-term sustainable initiatives meeting the needs of communities near Seadrift Operations. Applications must be received by Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 11 p.m. CST (12 a.m. EST).
The maximum grant funding available is $20,000 per project.
To apply go to https://www.cybergrants.com/dow/applications/naaopensitecycle If you have used this online application for prior grant requests, please use your previous login credentials. If you have never accessed Dow's grant application before, please email email@example.com to have an account created for you. Be sure to complete all sections of the application.
Projects must provide positive community impact in at least one of the following areas: Science in Society, Contributing to Community Success, and/or Sustainability. Preference will be given to projects that:
The full Program Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are available below. Please read these the documents thoroughly before applying.
To apply go to https://www.cybergrants.com/dow/applications/naaopensitecycle and select “United States of America”, “Texas” and “Freeport, TX” in the drop down menus. Be sure to complete all sections of the application.
For more information, please contact Texas Operations Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dow's commitment to the protection of people and the environment is the common thread that runs through everything we do. From habitat conservation projects to wildlife protection to recycling, Texas Operations demonstrates this commitment in many ways:
Dow and The Nature Conservancy
Working Together to Value Nature
The collaboration between Dow and The Nature Conservancy demonstrates that protecting nature can be both a global business strategy and a company priority. By combining our resources and expertise, we are integrating the value of nature into Dow's business decision-making.
Dow Texas Operations in Freeport has been named the first pilot site this ground-breaking initiative.
Scientists, engineers, and economists from both organizations are working together to analyze the various services that nature provides to our operations and the community. Those ecosystem services include water, land, air, oceans and a variety of plant and animal life. The work involves validating tools and models that can assign a value to these services in order to support Dow's decision-making when it comes to designing, constructing and operating its manufacturing sites. Results from this collaboration will be peer-reviewed and published for the benefit of other companies and the scientific and economic communities.
Keep Texas Beautiful Award
In early 2012, Dow Texas Operations was very proud to be named the winner of the Ebby Halliday & Maurice Acers Business/Industry, National award from Keep Texas Beautiful. It recognizes businesses with sound environmental principles supporting the Keep Texas Beautiful mission - to make Texas the cleanest, most beautiful state in the nation. A full list of winners and award descriptions, as well as information about the conference can be found at www.ktb.org.
Black Skimmer Open House
On one day each year, Dow Texas Operations opens the gate to its facility to enable community members to have the rare opportunity of viewing one of the largest nesting colonies of black skimmers on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The skimmers, who now number in the hundreds, have been using the oyster shell parking lot in the heart of the manufacturing plant since the 1960s. This year's Black Skimmer Open House will be held June 23, 2012 from 9 a.m. to noon. Anyone interested in attending should arrive at the Dow A-41 Gate located on FM 523, approximately one mile south of the intersection of Highway 332 and FM 523. A bus will shuttle visitors to the location of the colony. For more information about the Dow Black Skimmer Open House, visitors can contact Gabriella Cone at 979-238-4159.
Texas Operations Wildlife Support Team
Dow employees with an interest in nature work on various environmental projects both on and off site to improve local habitat and support biodiversity. This includes hosting an annual open house for the public to view a colony of black skimmers that resides on-site, participating in regular clean-up activities at a local nature preserve and providing suggestions for wildlife management on site.
Each year, Dow employees and their families contribute their time as volunteers to help with the Coastal Expo. This free, all-ages event at the annual Freeport Fishin' Fiesta event teaches children and adults about coastal ecosystems and environmental conservation. The volunteers help visitors see and touch various sea creatures, view a glass-bottom stream, solve a mysterious fish kill, learn what washes up on the Texas coast, fish for live catfish and more.
Texas Trash Off
As part of its sponsorship of Keep America Beautiful, Dow Texas Operations provides funding and volunteers for several annual city-wide clean-up events in the Brazosport area. From tree-planting to trash removal, Dow employees work hard to help their communities be more sustainable and beautiful.
E-Waste Recycling Day
As part of Texas Recycles Day, Dow Texas Operations sponsored a household electronics recycling event which resulted in more than 50,000 pounds of electronic waste (televisions, computers, printers, cell phones, etc.) being brought in for proper recycling and disposal. Not only does this save space in landfills, but it also prevents these items from being dumped into local waterways, ditches and fields. Dow volunteers help out by unloading and cataloging the items.
Spring and Fall Beach Clean ups
Dow Texas Operations employees have volunteered for many years to keep our local beaches clean, which is a great expression of environmental stewardship in the community. Since the first Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup in 1986, volunteers have picked up more than 7,500 tons of trash from our Texas beaches, statewide.
Sea Center Texas
Dow Texas Operations is one of the founding members of Sea Center Texas – one of Texas' most success fish hatcheries and environmental education centers. In addition to providing Sea Center with a continual supply of water for their aquariums and fish hatchery Dow also provides mature brood fish for its operations. Many of the popular aquarium's volunteers are Dow retirees or employees. The Sea Center Texas is open to the public, free of charge, and in 2011 they celebrated their one millionth visitor.
Wildlife Habitat Certification
In 2011 Dow Texas Operations received international recognition for its contributions to wildlife habitat conservation with Wildlife at WorkSM certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council. The certification recognizes Dow's commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity.