June, 2011: Oletha has been at it again, helping to expand Wichita industry, and securing green-collar jobs for her community. Cargill, the world’s biggest privately-held agri-business — which has major grain and meat processing facilities and headquarters throughout the Wichita area, employing over a thousand Wichitans — has undertaken a new growth venture — growing “green” jobs while protecting the environment — with Oletha’s help.
For today’s electric utility companies worldwide, the rising importance of environmental sensitivity presents a powerful challenge: How to replace deadly toxic chemicals — like PCBs — that normally fill and cool high-voltage transformers? These transformers are everywhere: on back-yard power poles, in office buildings, throughout industrial sites, and at the heart of electrical-distribution substations — throughout our community, state, nation and planet.
Teaming with Cooper Industries, one of the world’s largest suppliers of equipment for electrical utilities and contractors, Cargill’s Oilseeds division has come up with a Kansas-centered solution: Soybean oil, extracted at Wichita’s Cargill soybean “crush” plant and refinery — specially refined & enhanced to meet the complex, challenging requirements for high-voltage electrical transformers.
The long-range potential global market for this new power-transformer oil is in the MILLIONS of gallons, worldwide.
But in tight economic times, Cargill needed investment money to back the necessary plant improvements to make this new growth venture possible and practical.
Knowing the importance of continued and expanded Cargill investment in Wichita, to support jobs for the Wichita area, Oletha worked with Cargill and state legislators to back legislation helping to share the initial development burden with Cargill.
Today, thanks in part to Sen. Faust-Goudea’s support, the Cargill facility has access to a vast new global market — the electrical utility industry — opening a whole new global market for Kansas soybean farmers, and for the products of Wichita’s soybean processing industry, and their many local workers. Their new level of value to the world will boost Wichita earnings — securing jobs and feeding new money into the local economy — for decades to come.