I recently returned from Brazil where I was sharing Celanese’s Vision 2016 business strategy with my Celanese colleagues, and I felt compelled to share my experiences about my visit to our facilities there.  I have a deep fondness for Brazil. It may be because I lived there in the late 1990s for three years, or more than likely, because my wife is Brazilian.  Through her and her family, I have come to know the people and culture of Brazil and am always happy to have a chance to visit and spend time with our Brazilian employees.

Brazil is a country with great business potential and is bursting with pride these days as it plans for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.  These events, combined with significant finds of oil and natural gas, as well as being one of the leading emerging global economies, translates into real and tangible business opportunities for Celanese.

The commercial office, located in Sao Paulo, was full of energy and buzzing about recent sales of first-time products or customers.  They chattered on about how Celanese’s Vision 2016 business strategy fit perfectly with what they wanted to accomplish and how they were positioned.  They serve the growing market with our basic products while collaborating with customers to build innovative solutions and deliver lasting value.  One thing all my years of dealing with Brazil has taught me is that Brazilians are some of the most creative and innovative people on Earth – and they are open and willing to try new solutions and work in unique and different ways.  This attitude or spirit bodes well for our customer solutions and collaboration approach.

I also visited the manufacturing site in Suzano, a small city just 30 miles to the east of Sao Paulo; though from the heavy traffic you would have thought it was a lot further away.  We compound POM (polyoxymethylene) and PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) products for local consumption at the facility.  The plant is going on 25 years of service and has developed a reputation of safely delivering top quality products to our customers.

The first question on any visit to the Suzano plant is always about expansion and growth.  They want to be able to help deliver growth and have a larger impact for Celanese.  They were excited about the Vision 2016 strategy because it is something they felt connected with and could clearly understand how they fit in.  The renewed emphasis on why we are doing what we are doing hit home for them and generated a lot of positive conversation.  I left the site feeling energized and excited by the enthusiasm and the sense of hope for great things to come for the site and the men and women who work there.

When I returned home and told my wife what a great trip I had, and how enthusiastic everyone was, she replied: “Would you expect anything less? We Brazilians are always great hosts, full of hope and ready to take on a new challenge. After all, I married you didn’t I!”