AMBASSADOR OF SAFETY

Oregon refinery employee featured in BP ad campaign

5/17/2013
BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Jon Parker is the assistant chief of the emergency response team at the Oregon refinery. He is prominently featured in a national television ad campaign touting BP’s commitment to safety.
Jon Parker is the assistant chief of the emergency response team at the Oregon refinery. He is prominently featured in a national television ad campaign touting BP’s commitment to safety.

A longtime employee of BP’s oil refinery in suburban Toledo is prominently featured in a national television ad touting the energy company’s commitment to safety as it moves forward from the 2010 Gulf Coast disaster.

Jon Parker is the assistant chief of the emergency response team at the Oregon refinery, which BP operates in a joint venture with Husky Energy. Mr. Parker is also one of BP’s safety advisers.

In the ad, which began airing nationally on television May 1, Mr. Parker talks about BP’s response to the Gulf oil spill and the company’s invigorated commitment to safety, as well as outlining some of BP’s new technology. In the time since the spill, BP developed a new deep-water well cap and opened a high-tech monitoring center in Houston, where BP engineers keep watch over active drilling sites.

BP says the ad, versions of which also appear online and in print, is one of several the company is using to inform the public about what the company has done over the past couple of years to enhance safety and help prevent future spills.

A company spokesman said Mr. Parker was an easy choice to put a face to BP’s efforts.

“Job One is always safety, and it comes down to people doing the right thing. Folks like Jon are ambassadors of that,” BP spokesman Scott Dean said.

Mr. Parker, who has worked at BP for more than 24 years, was dispatched to the Gulf Coast shortly after the April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform that led to the largest oil spill in history.

Within days of arriving in Louisiana, Mr. Parker was named the operations section chief for Plaquemines Parish, leading a task force of 2,400 to 2,800 people who were working to contain and clean up the spill.

Jon Parker stops in the Command Center at the BP Husky refinery.
Jon Parker stops in the Command Center at the BP Husky refinery.

“It was pretty much ground zero for most of the activity,” he said. “It was very challenging.”

Mr. Parker ended up spending three and a half months there. He also was sent to the company’s Carteret Terminal in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy last year. Within 28 hours of his arrival, the terminal was safely up and running. He spent 13 days there helping to oversee repairs and clean up.

When he was tapped for the commercial, he made one stipulation — he wouldn’t say anything he didn’t believe to be completely true.

“It’s a huge commitment to say, ‘We are going to do things safer, we are going to do things better,’ and they've made that commitment,” he said. “I wholeheartedly believe that.”

The commercial was shot at the refinery in Oregon and several other locations, including Houston.

Mr. Parker, also a captain with the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department, said he was proud to be selected by BP. He seemed prouder of the safety record at the Oregon refinery.

The facility just passed 10 million man hours without a lost-time injury, and has the lowest recordable injury frequency rate among all BP facilities.

The Associated Press has reported that BP has paid out a total of $24 billion between cleanup costs and litigation related to the Gulf Coast spill. BP estimates it will pay out a total of $42 billion to fully resolve its liability.

A large and exceedingly complex civil trial that began in February in federal court related to the spill is ongoing.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.