The East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA) welcomed more than 130 participants to its recent crisis communications workshop, bringing together industry members and associations, government agencies and emergency planners to best serve their communities in the event of an incident.

“We all recognize the need for improved crisis communications and the ability to communicate quickly with each other – with clarity and credibility – to inform our neighbors and anyone who may be affected by an event,” says EHCMA Executive Director MaryJane Mudd. “Thanks to a very positive atmosphere and a tremendous amount of energy in the room, we were able to make a lot of progress on a top EHCMA priority for 2022.”

Full day of activities, networking

The workshop, held at San Jacinto College’s Center for Petrochemical, Energy and Technology in Pasadena, featured panel discussions, a media training session and a drill envisioning an incident along the Houston Ship Channel impacting multiple jurisdictions. “It was an intense exercise that condensed 24 to 48 hours of activities into a couple of hours,” says Shell Deer Park’s Jessica Blackmore, who led the creation of the drill scenario. “A big shout out to all the participants, many of whom moved beyond their day-to-day responsibilities to embrace the concept and bring their best ideas to the table.”

The media training session was also well received, with the one-hour presentation leaving attendees wanting more. Communications and messaging expert Terri Ammerman of The Ammerman Group led the training with colleague and broadcaster Ford Atkinson, offering examples of what to do and what not to do in the event of an incident. “It was a unique opportunity for attendees to spend time with these thought leaders and take away some tools and resources that help both the industry and the community,” says INVISTA Director of Public Affairs Deanna Altenhoff.

More workshops, webinars to come

EHCMA plans to make the workshop an annual event that explores different areas of crisis communications and use webinars to maintain messaging frequency. “Our goal is to make sure that 100 percent of EHCMA member companies participate in events like this,” says ExxonMobil Baytown Public & Government Affairs Manager Aaron Stryk, who chairs the EHCMA communications committee. “Crisis communications is a top priority and we need to make sure we have the public’s trust and maintain credibility.”

“Practice makes perfect and when you are practicing together – as an industry and with our government partners – it helps create a baseline of understanding and a rapport that you need before any potential incident may occur, in addition to the technical planning that’s already in place,” says LyondellBasell U.S. Gulf Coast Region Public Relations Lead Meredith Matthews. Her advice to members who missed the workshop? “Come to the next one!”

EHCMA wishes to thank the following companies for their support and sponsorship of the Crisis Communications Workshop:

  • Dow Texas Operations
  • Enviro AI
  • ExxonMobil Baytown Area
  • LyondellBasell
  • San Jacinto College
  • Shell Deer Park Chemicals
  • The Terri Ammerman Group