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Mysterious departure of Mark Hurley from Shell Motiva Norco

By John Donovan

On 24 November 2009, we published a leaked email from Mark Hurley, General Manager of the Shell Norco Manufacturing Complex. According to information received from a Norco insider, Mr Hurley has subsequently departed in mysterious circumstances.

FROM A SHELL NORCO CONTRIBUTOR

John,

About two weeks ago, an announcement came out on company email that a new Plant Manager for the Norco site has been selected.  Mark Hurley was set to take the reigns at Norco effective on January 1.  Last week, he came to Norco to start a transition and held his first town hall meeting and talking about his goals.  On Thursday, another email came out announcing that Mark Hurley has elected to retire on Feb 28, 2010 and Hermie Bundick will be interim plant manager once again.

Shortly after that email Hurley sent an email stating he was offered a position with another company in the Houston area and decided to take it instead.

Makes us wonder here at Norco, when they are going to announce we have been sold.  They are doing the Band-Aid approach painting things and fixing things that been needing it for a long time.  No major repairs only those that you would do if you were going to sell your house.

Interesting thing was in Mark’s town hall meeting, he stated that he understood that moral was at an all time low inside the Norco site.  He stated that he was going to do what he had to raise moral.  This is just the opposite of what Tom Purvis wants.

Recently the company and all the union sites have been in negotiations on a new substance abuse policy.  The current policy uses urine and if someone is caught they get a chance to go to rehab.  They are then on the program for 4 years and any positive test after that will result in their termination.  The new policy, changes the method to hair testing and if anyone that works at any of the sites test positive they would be terminated.  No chance for rehab; yet someone in head office can test positive and get a chance to go to rehab.

The unions do not condone drug use but in the past testing was all about impairment on the job.  The new hair testing is looking for drug use as far back as 90 days.  So someone on vacation for a month smokes some dope the first week of their vacation and returns to work and two months later the get tested they will fail the test.  The person is not impaired at the time of the test.  The new policy is nothing more then trying to find ways to terminate people.

During contract talks back in Jan. 09, the company failed to bring up several issues they know we would reject outright.  They are now trying to impose so of theses issues on us by calling them policy changes.  Some of theses changes are mandatory bargaining items under National Labor Relations Act in the US.  The refuse to bargain over theses policy changes and the unions have be forced to file labor board charges against the company on several occasions.

COMMENT POSTED BY: Jo Blow
on Dec 20th, 2009 at 1:22 am

Interesting stuff!

Perhaps Mr. Hurley is smart enough to recognize what working for Mr. Purves is like, he might even be an avid follower of this blog…

In all seriousness, I can certainly understand the good folks at Norco feeling the way they do. If you look at how Norco fits with in the Motiva refining portfolio, you will soon recognize that they do not fit at all. Since Saudi crude is primarily sour, and the Saudi’s own half of Norco, and Norco is a “Sweet” crude refinery their position is not a favorable one. If you look at the other half owner of Norco you will see a bloated Oil company that is in all appearances consolidating their refining foot print to the more complex and versatile refineries.

Norco has a tremendous history, rich with dedication and perseverance. I expect that at some point in the near future an announcement will come stating that Norco is on the sale block. For the folks at Norco this will not be the end, I have been through this before and can tell you that it is what you make of it. Most generally you will not suffer on the benefit front much if any at all. God knows that any new company has to have marginally better leadership then we have all seen out of the stooges Purves and company appear to be. My advise is simple, continue with all the great improvement you as a facility have achieved in reliability, and safety, and the rest will work itself out as it generally does.

Best wishes in these trying times,
Jo Blow

THE HURLEY DEPARTURE EMAILS (CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF SPIN & BS)

—–Original Message—–

From: Deroche, Liz O MOTIVA-DMM/60
Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2009 9:03 AM
Subject: Norco Site Personnel Change Announcement

Sent on behalf of Tom Purves

Mark Hurley, recently named General Manager Norco Manufacturing Complex has decided to retire and pursue another opportunity outside of Shell.  Hermie Bundick, will continue to serve as the interim General Manager of the Norco Manufacturing Complex.  Recently we announced John Navratil will transfer to a new role January 1, and Tammy Little will transfer to a new role March 1.  Effective January 1   Tammy Little will serve as Interim Site Production Manager reporting to Hermie Bundick during this transition.

Mark’s replacement will be the subject of a future announcement.  Please join me in thanking Hermie and Tammy for their continued willingness to support Norco during this leadership transition.

—–Original Message—–
From:  Deroche, Liz O MOTIVA-DMM/60
Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2009 9:18 AM

Subject: Message from Mark Hurley

To the folks at Norco:

By now you have seen a notice that I plan to retire effective February 28, 2010.   So I will not be taking the General Manager role for the Norco Manufacturing Complex.  First, I want to apologize to you for the “false-start” and I regret any inconvenience this has caused.  This decision has nothing to do with a lack of confidence in Norco whatsoever. To the contrary, following my visit there last week, I came away feeling better about the site and sincerely believing that Norco is going to be successful in the future.  There is no other place like Norco and it is the people there that make it unique.

I am retiring because another opportunity unexpectedly surfaced very recently that is an excellent fit with my long term personal and professional interests. It also allows me to keep my family in Houston.  So I am choosing to retire.

Shell has been wonderful to me and provided me with incredible opportunities to learn, to see the world and to work with great people.  And it all started at Norco.  I joined Shell because of the people I met when I interviewed there back in 1981.  I’m sorry I won’t be able to work with you one more time, but I am certain that Norco is going to be successful long into the future.  I wish you all the best and I hope our paths will cross again.

Mark Hurley

1 Comment on “Mysterious departure of Mark Hurley from Shell Motiva Norco”

  1. #1 Jo Blow
    on Dec 20th, 2009 at 01:22

    Interesting stuff!

    Perhaps Mr. Hurley is smart enough to recognize what working for Mr. Purves is like, he might even be an avid follower of this blog…

    In all seriousness, I can certainly understand the good folks at Norco feeling the way they do. If you look at how Norco fits with in the Motiva refining portfolio, you will soon recognize that they do not fit at all. Since Saudi crude is primarily sour, and the Saudi’s own half of Norco, and Norco is a “Sweet” crude refinery their position is not a favorable one. If you look at the other half owner of Norco you will see a bloated Oil company that is in all appearances consolidating their refining foot print to the more complex and versatile refineries.

    Norco has a tremendous history, rich with dedication and perseverance. I expect that at some point in the near future an announcement will come stating that Norco is on the sale block. For the folks at Norco this will not be the end, I have been through this before and can tell you that it is what you make of it. Most generally you will not suffer on the benefit front much if any at all. God knows that any new company has to have marginally better leadership then we have all seen out of the stooges Purves and company appear to be. My advise is simple, continue with all the great improvement you as a facility have achieved in reliability, and safety, and the rest will work itself out as it generally does.

    Best wishes in these trying times,
    Jo Blow

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