In the control room of the South Kearny Brine to Bleach (B2B) facility, Rudi Fernandes sits quietly monitoring the operations of the plant.
Born in a small town in Portugal, Rudi moved to the US about 22 years ago, where he finished high school and began working in a supermarket.
The Early Years
Rudi joined Kuehne 17 years ago through a connection with the then Plant Manager, Manny Cunha. According to the current Plant Manager, Manny Correia, “Rudi began his career as a young operator with no experience. His demonstration of drive and motivation overshadowed the lack of chemical handling knowledge. Rudi quickly learned all positions within the production department and is now one of the primary members of the emergency response team.”
John D’Alterio, the Special Projects Coordinator, played a crucial role in providing training for Rudi. He states, “Rudi is not only a great worker but also a great person to work with.”
Rudi participated in the Mississippi State Fire Academy training a few years back and is a valuable member of the fiberglass team. John adds, “Rudi is frequently asked to travel to both the New Haven and New Castle plants to assist with plant maintenance and improvements. He’s always willing to help with anything – taking the initiative and getting the work done without being asked.”
Dedicated and Brave
Rudi does not complain about working overtime to complete jobs. He is dedicated to the work he does and to his team. In addition to being a key member of the fiberglass team, he has completed at least 40 hours of Hazmat training and has responded to chlorine-related emergencies in the community.
Manny Correia states, “I can vividly recall an off-site chlorine railcar emergency early in Rudi’s career that would have easily made some professional emergency response teams run for the hills. Instead of running away from the incident at the rail yard, Rudi and his team ran towards it and successfully stopped the leak. This ‘action’ occurred with less than one year of experience. This incident had all the makings of having a significant impact on the nearby communities.”
A Family Man
Rudi enjoys spending time with his family. His wife, Marta, works at Kuehne Company in the accounting department. They have two young daughters who love outdoor activities with their dad, including working in the garden, bike-riding, and even sledding in the winter.”