Findlay, Ohio,
10:17 PM

Celebrating new facilities in Detroit and Canton

Detroit’s office building

The Detroit refinery’s new administration building, completed in July, is a landscaped, campus-like area located on land that was formerly occupied by an industrial warehouse. The refinery’s previous administration building and surrounding area were no longer adequate for the staff’s needs.

“As the refinery and its operations had grown over the years, the offices hadn’t kept pace,” said Refinery Manager Dave Roland. “We were very short on office space, meeting rooms and parking. The new administration building meets our needs and even provides room to grow.”

Roland also has personal reasons for appreciating the company’s $50 million investment in the new building.

“We have been an integral part of Southwest Detroit for more than 50 years,” he said. “And as a native Detroiter, I’m proud that Marathon Petroleum is investing tens of millions of dollars in our long-term presence here.”

In addition to beautifying a former brownfield site in a heavily industrialized area of Detroit, the building project also involved vacating a portion of a street that previously had run directly adjacent to some of the refinery’s operating units.

“The Detroit refinery is considered a ‘critical infrastructure’ facility by the Department of Homeland Security, and having a public street that close to some of our processing units did present a risk for potential terrorist attack,” said Roland. “It’s our responsibility to protect the public and our facility by making sure security risks are minimized.”

The refinery proposed vacating the street to the Detroit City Council, which voted to approve the change.

In addition to an open, modern design, the new administration building features Detroit-related artwork, such as a replica of the mural “Detroit Industry” by Diego Rivera. The original is displayed at the Detroit Institute of the Arts. In addition to the mural and other Detroit-centered artwork, each of the conference rooms in the building is named after a major thoroughfare in Detroit. Roland said the old administrative building on Fort Street would be used by a turnaround group — employees who plan and execute a period of major, planned maintenance at the refinery. The building also might be converted to a training center, which would help keep all refinery employees centralized in Detroit, as the refinery’s training facility is currently in Allen Park, Michigan.

Canton’s Control Building

Commissioned in September 2016, MPC’s refinery in Canton, Ohio, added a new Central Control Building (CCB) in the culmination of more than three years of collaborative teamwork between a broad cross section of Canton employees and contractors.

“It started as a project designed to address issues with control system obsolescence and HMI (the human machine interface),” says Refining Engineer Sam Slimak, who served as the CCB’s project director. “It quickly became much more, as we followed MPC’s process for developing projects. That allowed us to address concerns, discuss alternative solutions, discover added benefits, and plan for the future.”

The project ultimately consolidated three separate control rooms located throughout the refinery into one.

“We not only ended up with a world-class building, but the process also allowed us to create a campus here in Canton,” says Slimak. “Our execution and transition team deserves a lot of credit.”

Refinery General Manager Brad McKain agrees. “With the completion of the CCB, we now have control of all aspects of our operation – process, utilities, blending and logistics – together under the same roof. Our new control center is also adjacent to maintenance and technical support staff which further facilitates Canton’s ‘1 Team 1 Goal’ approach.”

In terms of design, the CCB leads the industry in safety and ergonomics. Lighting, heating/cooling and safety systems were carefully analyzed during the planning process. Designed as a safe haven, the building is resistant to blasts and toxic material resistant. In a nod to the future of the refinery, a second story can be added if needed.

Having maintenance, operations, and administration located in the same area of the refinery also means the fences between them are down, both figuratively and literally.

“By allowing employees from all areas of the refinery to work more closely together, we are getting better communication and collaboration among the teams,” adds McKain. “That is providing efficiencies and is advancing production-centered excellence here at the refinery.”