The Brazosport Facts from Freeport, Texas on September 22, 1968 · Page 85
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Brazosport Facts from Freeport, Texas · Page 85

Freeport, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 22, 1968
Page 85
Start Free Trial

INDUSTRIAL SECTION PROGRESS '68 BRAZOSPORT FACTS ANNUAL PROGRESS AND MAIL-AWAY EDITION SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 1968 >,y $t*i •**?<*«- IMPACT A YEAR AWAY First offshore oil tests served from Old Brazos >f '^J^^-'- 'j^fe . ;j£l$&}.. •&£v<£f£* JWK^.''**" '• ..t- V'/4 <,l* t 'rfte^V .•?• fc At the start of this montt five mobile drilling rigs were on location in the Gulf southwest of the Old Brazos jetties. They were far over the horizon, the closest DO miles, the farthest over 80 miles. Seven holes were completed or being drilled. At least four were dry holes. One was believed to be a big discovery. This Is one of the early stages of an offshore oil activity that may equal or surpass that on the Louisiana coast. Some local business leaders have been feeling It coming for years. The approaching impact of offshore oil in the nearby Gulf came a big step nearer economic reality early this year, though so far one has to go beyond the river levees and know what he's looking for to see how we're Involve-'!. For the drilling crews, Bra - zosport is only a brief stopovei on the way tf and from work. They live elsewhere, and their stay Is too brief for many people even to be aware they're here. The few who have considered living here were discouraged by the housing shortage. So In the earl;, testing phase, Brazosport will barely know that offshore oil is here. There will be no effect on schools, little business except with a few specialists. Chiefly, these are the Offshore Oil Services Inc., a Muchowich family subsidiary operating from their New HIv. er docks; and Hunter Flores Inc., located on a bend of the Old Brazos just below stauf- fer Chemical Co. in Freeport. A more general effect of offshore oil will likely come slowly, with significant impact at least a ;.ear aw-ay, and to a degree dependent "ii what tlu present and near-futurepros- pecting turns up in the Gulf. Bui within a few years, say men with knowledge of the oil business, there will be something like 0,000 holes punched In the Gulf floor along the upper Texas Gulf C.ast. The support industry inthecoastal port areas will be of great magnitude, uffsliorc oil was born in Louisiana. There were large oil strikes throughout the mainland. Near the coast. drilling companies adaptei to water by learning to drill in the coastal swamps. Then they readapted to the Gulf lands. later venturing farther out oil the continental shelf. Hrazosport's involvement goes back to 1007, when the Muchowich family, pioneers here in shrimping and party boat operation, began outfitting boats to carry supplier and crews for offshore drilling rigs. The rigs weren't here. The Muchowich boats were chartered by drilling contractors operating off the Louisiana coast. Most of the boats were converted shrimp trawlers, though later boats were especially built for the family as crew boats and material supply boats. Some of these are still operating under charter off Louisiana. But more recently, Freeport has teen the base for extensive seismograph sound- AREA'S OFFSHORE SERVICES Only live rigs are now on location offshore in the important Brazos Area. None are in the nearer Galveston Area. Yet the mainland and marine facilities that support them have already developed into a substantial and growing industry. At upper left is the Muchowich family's Offshore Oil Services Inc., a New River installation that uses I,COO feet of waterfront, several supply boats, loading and unloading, and storage of fuel, drilling mud and other materials. Below is the Hunter F lores Inc. operations on the Old River, showing a barge- mounted crane for loading. At left, crane at Muchowich docks is loading drilling pipe into an Offshore Oil Services supply boat. ing of the nearby Gulf waters. This developed information on the undersea geological formations that would help oil companies make a preliminary judgment on the value of offshore leases. The Muchowich family developed boats for this work, still using the old docks on the Old Brazos. But two years ago the firm leased 1,000 feet of city-owned waterfront on the New River. This became a base for seismograph boats. The soundings were the buildup to the big day in offshore oil — the bid-letting session held by the federal government in late May in New Orleans. That day the government had nearly three-quarters of a million acres of offshore leases up for sale. These were (Continued on Page 15) Texas Dow bugaboos: Commun/caf/ons, identity Is the How Texas Division too bit;? Sometimes there's an Inclination to think so. There are occasions when the management sees the sprawl as a cumbersome octopus that Is barely able to let the left tenacle know what the right one is doing. And worse, the vastness of operations has a tendency to submerge people; It Ittcomes harder for the Individual in the lower echelons to do a da> 's work, then step back and recognize what he did for the company's well-being. In these respects, there's room to envy the Oyster Creek Division, with Its short chain of command and small staffs running big units. They're not thinking of breaking up the Texas 1'i- vision. Bigness still has a lot going for It. What's happened, now Is an effort to find ways to simplify the management of large organizations, where the natural tendency Is to grow more complex and paper-bound. Dow Isn't alone In this effort. It Is happening throughout the chemical Industry, The goal is to keep the ad- vantages of the Ian e organization, but to make Its elements more manageable and more responsive. At the same liu.e, there is a seari'h for wuvs to give a greater number of employees the means of identifying with the company's accomplishments. It's a bii: onl/T and a tou ; 'h one, with man.> possible approaches. As yet, there are no certain means of reaching the two goals. Bui finding them isof greater concern to General Manager J. M, (Lev!) Leathers at this time than adding new tenacles to the Division. There was opportunity to gain a broader perspective during two months this past summer manariiu; Dow's widepreaJ European Division. Wliat impressed him most abroad wore the small units, with their simple organizations. There, the managers knew every employee by first name and personal qualities, "and you could see the more effective use they made of the personnel, "There was more personal contact. There was less Jepe nd e n c e on uiviniz.i(ional structure', and more reliance on jiersoiial judgment m get- llnr, things done." But then there was Terneuzen, Holland, which had grown Into a large plant, and there Leathers found some of the same problems of communication ami personal Identity that afflicts Uit> large plants in tin- states, "I reull). wish we could organize in such a way that we would have some of the features of small plants, with the advantages of the big ones," Leathers said. "I'd like to see an o|*>ration where there wasn't as much pai* 1 !' generated. 1 would like to see eacli individual have a greater opportunity to make a recognizable impact on the company." In earlier years, Ur. Karle Barnes had advanced some thoughts along these lines. If one were able to recognize each person's strong, innate abilities and interests, and get this person working in an area best suited to these traits and interests, he would make a greater contribution, and be happy doing it. Tins strikes a sympathetic note with Leathers. Inall previous positions, lie was able to work on a persun-to-jiersiin basis with those doing the actual job. Now, managing an operation that involves (5,000-plus persons, he finds that at l-est he car. extend his personal knowledge of individuals down through two or three echelons. From that point on. the handling of assignments disappears from view, and the feedback of reports on further effort falls to identify the individuals who contributed to the accomplishment. The utilization of large numbers of personnel is a lil ' ltl uf responsibility new to leathers with his Ivcuming general manager. His particular interest has always been technology. His obsession has been to get more effective tools into the hands of capable persons. Now, he is running head-on into this fact: Technology's advances are providing better tools faster than people will adapt to them. Leathers pointed out this frustration in a recent talk to the American Chemical Society , where he observed "that a company's greatest asset is its employees, but that its greatest liability is these same employees.' 1 The liability lay in tl.e difficulty of getting the organization adapted to the changes in U'Cl-nology. He continued: ''I estimate that Dow is utilizing effectively only about 50'. of us employees. "I don't mean by tins that h^lf of our employees are out on the job loafing and Join; 1 , nothing, although some of this does take place." But some ar.; working full time and overtime on jobs that will have a zero effect on production, he said. The efforts of some will have 90'' ; effect. But on the average, Leathers estimates, about 50 ! 'i of the employeesef- fort is effective. What happens, he said, is that people tend to find a comfortable niche in the company's organisational .structure that will in eifeol allow the::, to take early mental retiivment. Many will chr.giotl.issmall compart mem and narrow their si; Ms to t!.e one fimctioi, There, they are unable to •-!<.•- tern.ii'.e whether from the standpoint "f overall company usefulness, the ;ol. nilent be done better another way, or done as pan of broader d't- ties. or eliminate..! comp'.ete- J. M. <LF.Vl) LEATHKIW Division General Manager As an analogy, lie points out in fli : :!it, an airline host- es.- will perform the~e functions: receptionist, usher, hatcheck girl, safety director, ba r ::. aid, waitress, busboy. janitoress. nurse, assistant manager. She takes care of about 100 persons for some hours. on tlie urounl, several persons ::.u:lu be doing these services, anJ each be Convinced his full attention was needed. In the air, space and weight limitations forced the finding, that one person cuuUi do all the ;obs. Because of the need for adapting to changes in plant functions, and to changes in the capability of available talent, a compaiv. 's structure must not be considered permanent. It must be fluid. Various functions. departments, groups of personnel are aligned to fit the special capabilities that a particular person may develop. VnJer such a striu'ture, the person in charge would have both the ability and the jiicen- ti'.e. stemming from job satisfaction, to diminish the amount of unproductive effort in his area. Further, lie might be more likel.- than others to spot the talents and limitations of those under him. and shuffle the duties to match the person and the job. One approach t..'this. L eath- ers observes, is all'.'win;. more latitude at every level on how a job is to be handle.!. Improving on both employee utilization and job satisfaction is practical from the supervisors on up. Leathers saiu. It is more difficult in the e in p 1 o y e e s operating under contract, lie said, because the contract itself places artificial limitations on the use a person can n.ake of his own capabilities. Development 01 ;ob sails- faction was made a matter of corporation policy in a letter from Dow President H. K Doan last Cctober. h= contents included: 'We will make the Jevelop- tConiiiiueJ on Page 3)

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,100+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free