It is an annual passage of Spring in the Panhandle of Texas; trees blooming, grass greening up and members from Leadership Amarillo & Canyon making their way out to the Pantex plant northeast of Amarillo for their yearly tour of the facility.
This professional group, founded about 35 years ago is built on the strength of community leaders and business people who want to learn more about what’s happening in their own collective backyards. Designed to introduce leadership development, networking, community awareness and social consciousness to anyone wanting to make an impact in their community; they meet 10 months out of the year, experiencing a variety of businesses and industries while interacting with civic, business and non-profit agencies across the region.
This year, the group of close to 50 made its way to the main entrance building where they were greeted by Pantex Site Manager Michelle Reichert who offered up a Q&A session.
During lunch, they were introduced to Pantex Plant Agronomist Monty Schoenhals who gave an intriguing presentation on the storied history and timeline of the site. For those in attendance like Canyon City Manager, Randy Criswell, this is a rare opportunity to visit one of the area’s largest employers.
“One of the best things about this program is everything you get to see and be a part of… the familiarity with businesses and especially places like Pantex.”
After lunch the group was escorted around the perimeter of the plant along with the opportunity to get an up-close view of some of the security vehicles on one of their stops.
Then, to wrap up their day, the visitors were taken to a test firing site to experience first-hand what it looks, sounds — and feels like — to witness a planned test shot with high explosives or HE. Judging by the reaction of the crowd, it was a big hit, as was the entire tour.
Leadership Amarillo & Canyon members say they now have a better understanding of the mission here at Pantex.
“This leadership program is very diverse. It’s unique to be able to come to a place like this (Pantex) and see everything that we’re being shown. It’s something that ‘John Q Citizen’ will probably never get to see for themselves,” said Criswell.
Plans are already in the works for Leadership Amarillo & Canyon to visit Pantex again in 2016 with a new group of area leaders wanting to gain a better understanding of local businesses in the area.