In the control room of the South Kearny Brine to Bleach facility, Rudi Fernandes sits quietly monitoring the operations of the plant. Born in a small town in Portugal, Rudi moved to the US about 20 years ago, where he finished high school and began working in a supermarket.
Rudi Fernandes and Manny Cunha at a recent Safety Day
Rudi came to work at Kuehne 15 years ago through a connection with Manny Cunha, who was plant manager at the time. According to Manny Correia, current Plant Manager, “he began his career as a young operator with no experience. His demonstration of drive and motivation shadowed the lack of chemical handling knowledge. Rudi quickly learned all the positions within the production department and is one of the emergency response team’s primary members.”
John D’Alterio was instrumental in providing training for Rudi. He says “Rudi is a great worker and a great person to work with. He also participated in the Mississippi State Fire Academy training a few years back and is part of the fiberglass team.” John goes on to say that 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 out with any special project” says John. “He is willing to help with anything – takes the initiative and gets the work done without being asked.”
Dedicated and Brave
Rudi does not complain about working overtime to complete jobs. He cares about the work he does and about his team. Besides being a key member of the fiberglass team, he has also completed at least 40 hours of Hazmat training and has responded to chlorine-related emergencies in the community.
Manny Correia states “I can clearly 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 few team members ran towards it and stopped the leak. All this “action” with less than one year of experience. This one particular incident had all the makings of having a significant impact on the nearby communities.”
Community and Family
Not only does Rudi care about his community and his team members. He also enjoys spending time with his family. His wife, Marta, also works at Kuehne Company, in the accounting department. They have 2 young daughters who love spending time outside with their dad working in the garden, bike-riding, and even sledding in the winter.
Rudi with his wife, Marta, and their two daughters
Rudi holding his daughters on a recent trip to Jamaica
The Kuehne Company facilities manufacture sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and similar chemicals every day of the year, 24 hours of the day, with the exception of a few planned outages to perform maintenance on the equipment. Operators such as Rudi work long shifts, nights, holidays, and overtime when repairs and maintenance is required in the facilities.
Kuehne is extremely fortunate to have a dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring production team that not only keeps the plant running smoothly, but also goes above and beyond to actively engage in nationwide emergency response hazmat training. Without dedicated, self-motivated individuals such as Rudi, essential production facilities such as Kuehne would not be able to provide reliable service and chlorine-related emergency response in our communities.
Thank you, Rudi Fernandes, for all that you do and all that you are! We appreciate you!
News & Announcements
Find out what’s happening at Kuehne.
Kuehne Company recently received a letter of thanks from Mr. Leo Macdonald M.Ed., an AP® Chemistry and Chemistry Teacher at New Hope Solebury High School in New Hope, Pennsylvania. When Ms. Azade...
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We love our people
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