Compassion Crosses Continents at US Synthetic

By Steve Klass, Executive Director, P3 Utah

Asanate Foundation problem solving

US Synthetic team in Kenya doing leadership and problem-solving training with one of our social enterprises, Coast Coconut Farms

To the employees of US Synthetic, the company is much more than a high performing and well recognized company. US Synthetic exists to improve lives—not only for our employees and customers but in the community. This community extends far beyond Utah. US Synthetic’s legacy of giving back and improving lives as a responsible global citizen began with its founder, Louis Pope, and it continues today through its “Engineering Good” program. The previous blog entry gave a sense of this work in Utah schools but donations from employees and the company also include significant global efforts in Kenya and other developing markets around the world.Eucalyptus farmersMiti Msitu is a eucalyptus tree farm social enterprise. Eucalyptus trees are unique in that they are fast-growing, drought and pest resistant and their straight trunks make them in high demand for timber and utility poles.

US Synthetic employees have been working in Kenya for 15 years through the Asante Foundation and Choice Humanitarian, founding the Yehu Microfinance Institution in Kenya which has over 40,000 women clients taking small loans to start microenterprises to build self-reliance. Several other social enterprises have been started in Kenya to create sustainable jobs. Dozens of US Synthetic employees travel each year with Choice Humanitarian to places like Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Guatemala and Boliva to teach problem-solving and leadership skills to village leaders and women’s groups, in addition to providing humanitarian service building schools, water wells, efficient ovens and health clinics.

Farmer at blackboard

Running the numbers at Miti Misitu.

Through a partnership with Kenya Keys, educational opportunities are being provided to the least fortunate in rural Kenya and with Village Drill to develop new technology for human-powered drills to bring clean water to thousands in Africa and around the world. At US Synthetic, it truly is about improving lives. “When we do good, we are engaged, we feel good and we work better,” says Troy Holmberg, Director of Engineering Good & Social Innovation.    The numbers speak for themselves. Employee turnover rates are below 8%, remarkable for a manufacturing company.