Rick Stater: Tronox

Rick Slater, Plant Manager, TronoxPlant Manager

How did you first get into your profession?

[I had an] interest in chemistry and engineering in high school, so I got a Chemical Engineering degree in college.

What do you like most and least about your industry?

Most is the diversity of areas of interest available within this profession and least would be the loss of such businesses in the US.

If you had to choose another profession, what would it be?

My other interest is in astronomy, as I like to understand just how we got to be in such a great portion of our solar system.

What business advice would you give someone just starting in your industry?

First, surround yourself with very talented and driven people, then understand that the cost of business is not always under the control of the industry itself. One must be prepared to adjust as the world around you requires. In addition, you must always be thinking several years out to insure you stay ahead of the competition.

What is the biggest challenge your industry is facing?

Over taxing and regulation.

If you were President, what problem or concern would you address first?

I think the main problem we have today is the reluctance of government to avoid interference with the entrepreneurial spirit of the country. Therefore, establishment of a better tax system and regulatory process that serves the public without driving business away.

What is the best perk of your career?

The ability to have several avenues of growth for myself worldwide, if I choose to travel.

What do you wish you would have learned at the beginning of your career?

The fact that industry is more about people issues than equipment or processes.

What was the toughest lesson you’ve learned in your career?

That you can’t solve all the issues in a day, or by yourself, but you must prioritize and delegate to the talented people that surround you.