A slice of PIE

When a company understands its role in the community it calls home, it’s a win-win situation, and the Barberton plant of PPG Industries Inc. has that understanding, says plant manager Richard V. Bauer.

The $100 million-plus company does more than manufacture specialty chemicals for pharmaceuticals and pesticides, water-repellent coatings for aircraft windows, synthetic printing sheets used to make ID cards and menus and silicas that thicken and reduce gloss in varnishes, lacquers and paints.

Among the company’s volunteer efforts over the past 10 years, PPG has made a $27,000 investment in Highland Middle School’s students through the Partners in Education (PIE) program.

Each year, salaried and hourly PPG employees collectively volunteer about 1,000 hours through mentoring and tutorial programs. Since 1994, 550 Highland students have benefited from tutoring twice a week, and 125 have had PPG employees as mentors.

Employees have participated in Highland’s career day speakers bureau and outdoor education camping program, Junior Achievement’s “Go Figure” program, which teaches practical applications of math in everyday life, and the National PTA’s “Reflections” essay program. PPG also built the Lake Dorothy outdoor ecosystem “classrooms” and education trails for students.

The company also supports — both financially and through volunteer time — the Straight A’s program, attendance program, teacher sponsorship at the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council’s Annual Teachers, Industry and Environment Conference, PPG Industries scholarship foundation and the student council leadership retreat at Kent State University.

When it comes to philanthropic endeavors, PPG and Highland have joined forces to support the Salvation Army’s holiday programs, Pasta for Pennies campaign for the Leukemia Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. PIE is led by PPG employees, the principal and the teachers from Highland, who meet once a month to review and plan programs and activities that meet the partnership’s goals.

PPG’s volunteer efforts extend beyond Highland. The company supports the University of Akron’s Women in Engineering’s summer camp for seventh- and eighth-grade girls in the Akron area, provided a $6,000 scholarship to a high school senior living in the Barberton-Norton area and provided financial support to Barberton and Norton secondary schools.

Within the community, PPG employees volunteer with the Salvation Army, South Summit Chamber of Commerce and the Barberton Community Foundation. To stay in touch with its neighbors, PPG produces quarterly newsletters and meets monthly with its Community Advisory Panel, a voluntary group of area residents who keep the lines of communication open between PPG and the community. HOW TO REACH: PPG Industries Inc., (330) 825-0831, www.ppg.com