For Romulus Powertrain Employees, Environmentalism and Community Go Hand-in-Hand

For Romulus Powertrain Employees, Environmentalism and Community Go Hand-in-Hand

Multimedia from this Release

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 12:00pm


Inside our plant in Romulus, Mich., GM employees are gearing up to build a new 10-speed transmission, sustaining their future in providing fuel efficient powertrains for new GM vehicles. Outside the facility and with the community, Romulus employees are building a more sustainable future for the next generation.

Romulus Powertrain Operations has a long history of environmental conservation and outreach, especially when it comes to educating local youth. It starts with preservation of the community’s natural resources where each year GM employees mentor students on protecting local watersheds as a part ofGM GREEN, our watershed education program that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Last year, Romulus employees participated in five GREEN events, engaging 278 students and educators from four schools in Rouge River water monitoring projects.

From our experience, educational activities that involve recycling always resonate with young people – from fashioning Halloween decorations out of milk jugs to reusing scrap parts to benefit wildlife. Regular readers of this blog know our waste reduction mantra: we consider waste a resource out of place. Our engineers adopt the MacGyver mindset – they always look for creative ways to turn waste into something useful.

Romulus’ resident MacGyver is Bill Polomik, a senior environmental engineer at the facility. Polomik frequently volunteers at Starfish Family Services, a nonprofit that provides early childhood development and parenting programs to vulnerable children and families in metropolitan Detroit. Around Earth Day last year, Polomik had an idea that would not only provide a fun activity for underprivileged kids but encourage Romulus employees to recycle as well.

His idea? The “Trash-to-Treasure Challenge.”

Polomik asked his coworkers to bring in household recyclables, everything from scrap paper and plastics to cereal boxes and water bottles. On Earth Day, he brought the recycled items donated by Romulus employees to the nonprofit, where approximately 75 children used the scrap materials to create their own unique eco-friendly art projects. During the event, Polomik talked to the kids about the importance of recycling and its impact on preserving our natural resources. He also shared tips with the parents on how to conserve energy and water at home, and how to properly dispose of hazardous household waste.

Polomik isn’t the only Romulus engineer making an impact in the community. Environmental engineer Marleen Bandy frequently volunteers to mentor students about the environment as well. Last fall, she helped lead a workshop at the 12th annual Great Lakes Bat Festival where kids reused Chevrolet Volt battery covers to build bat nesting boxes.

Bandy also helped local students build a pollinator garden at their school to protect and study Monarch butterflies. The living classroom was certified by the wildlife conservation organization Monarch Watch as a Monarch Waystation, a habitat designated to sustain Monarch populations during their arduous migration. Bandy continues to work with the students and hopes to expand her pollinator garden work to other schools this year.

At General Motors we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our vehicles and facilities, as well as creating a lasting impact in our communities and developing a new generation of environmental stewards. Bill Polomik and Marleen Bandy exemplify that commitment and the great contributions made by our employees at Romulus Powertrain – on and off the assembly line.

CATEGORY: Environment