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Inspiring Everyday: Learning new skills means growing with the company

Focused and with clipboard in hand, Shalanda Palmore walks onto the Greenwood site to start her shift. On the way to the machine she operates, Shalanda notices a tool left out in another area. She takes a moment to put the tool in its proper place. Then she investigates further and writes down if the area needs any possible improvements. This is the no-nonsense approach to safety that Shalanda brings to work every day.

Shalanda, a spinning operator in the industrial fibers department, can be seen helping across the site. When Shalanda passes a machine, she checks for out-of-place tools and tripping hazards. 

“Shalanda has learned many different areas of the plant” says Michael Walters, senior site director at Greenwood. “When machines need to be fixed, Shalanda is able to get them up and running again. Shalanda does this not because she is asked, but because she wants to help others and the site.”

Recently, there was a loss of power in the draw jet area, where nylon polymer is turned into carpet fiber. With Shalanda’s experience in draw jet, she was able to help restring the lines and get the equipment running again.

“This is not just a job to me,” says Shalanda. “Ascend is a place where I want to grow. I continue to learn more so I can help where I can and be valuable to the site.”

Shalanda’s constant learning began as a kid. “My mom always wanted me to keep my mind active,” says Shalanda. “If I wasn’t reading a book, she had me doing crossword puzzles.”

For a recent maintenance overhaul, Shalanda was asked to help the maintenance staff stay safe. She led them in performing a Hazard Recognition Plus™ spider assessment to find hazards they might not have seen otherwise.

Shalanda walked every floor inspecting the equipment. She asked questions about the machines, then went back to each area. Shalanda conducted an HRP assessment for each area to improve safety.

This wasn’t just for maintenance, Shalanda regularly leads HRP assessments for multiple departments throughout the site. 

“When I conduct HRPs, it’s an opportunity to apply what I know and learn about what I don’t know,” said Shalanda. “HRPs allow me to understand and operate the equipment in a different department.” 

“Shalanda continues to improve herself and others as she challenges the team to find ways to work safer,” says Greg Smith, manufacturing specialist at Greenwood. “She is an advocate of HRP and uses the assessment to keep her coworkers safe while they complete a project. Through her observations, many safety improvements have been made at the site.” 

But it could be that Shalanda has been conducting safety assessments for years. Shalanda believes it’s important to have an orderly area to avoid accidents, including in her children’s playroom at home.

“My children were only allowed to play with two toys at a time,” says Shalanda. “If they took out three toys, I told them to put one back. My kids weren’t always happy about it, but that helped avoid a lot of accidents at home.”

Now that Shalanda’s children are grown, the toy requirements might have changed for her grandchildren. But don’t expect her to lighten up at work.   

“It only takes a second to look and make sure a tool is in the correct place,” says Shalanda. “Because it only takes a second for a person to have an accident.”