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Walt Precourt, vice president for environmental and government affairs for Holcim Inc., will discuss "Social Responsibility in a Global World" at the Parker Ethics Lecture Tuesday [March 10] at East Central University. He will speak at 6:30 p.m. in the Estep Multimedia Center in the University Center.

In conjunction with the lecture, a panel discussion will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the same location. The panel will discuss various topics related to the environment, social responsibility, globalization and working in a multi-cultural environment. Both events are ECU Centennial events.

The lecture and panel discussion are sponsored by ECU's Oscar L. Parker Center for the Advancement of Ethical Standards in Business and Society with assistance from the ECU Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team.

"Social Responsibility is the idea of corporations and businesses going beyond what they are required by law to do," according to Dr. Pat Fountain, Parker Ethics Center director and ECU professor of business administration. "Businesses have a responsibility to their shareholders to make a profit, but many also accept a responsibility to outperform their peers in areas such as the environment, ethics and philanthropy. Many economists would claim that these businesses going beyond what they have to do are just throwing away profits that could be going to their shareholders."

Precourt's current responsibilities include leading Holcim's efforts toward meeting the company's environmental commitments, maintaining a strong focus on corporate social responsibility, and managing relationships with public officials, regulatory agencies and legislative bodies.

He previously was general manager, North American Development Center, for both Holcim (US) Inc. and Saint Lawrence Cement, Canada. In that role he led a team of senior human resources professionals in the areas of Organizational Development, Professional Development, Talent Acquisition / Workforce Planning and Learning.

He also worked three years as the corporate manager of health, safety and security for Holcim. Using his background in change management, Precourt fostered the creation of a safety culture, reaffirming the organization's commitment to safety.

Prior to joining Holcim, Precourt spent 17 years working in the environmental, health and safety field in the petrochemical industry, primarily with The Dow Chemical Company. He is a licensed professional engineer (Texas) and holds degrees in civil engineering, environmental & water resources engineering and business administration. Precourt has broad international experience, having completed projects in South America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia/Pacific Region.

Joining Precourt for the panel discussion from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. will be plant manager Ajay Kumar and Sharon Myers, environmental manager from Holcim's Ada plant. Also on the panel will be Dr. Guy Sewell and Dr. Doug Weirick of ECU's Environmental Health Sciences Department and Dr. Mike Thompson, dean of ECU's School of Business. The moderator for the discussion will be the Parker Ethics Center director, Dr. Pat Fountain.

As ECU celebrates its Centennial, Ada's cement plant, under various owners, is in its 102nd year of operation. A brief history of the plant will precede both the lecture and the panel discussion.

"We really appreciate the efforts of our local Holcim plant manager, Ajay Kumar, to bring in Walt Precourt," Fountain said. "His talk and the panel presentation should appeal to a wide variety of interests including those interested in the environment, globalization and working in a multi-cultural environment as well as those wanting to learn a little about the local plant's history. There really should be something for everyone in these two presentations."

Fountain also is ECU's service-learning director. He is the current president of the Association of Collegiate Marketing Educators and is the past president of the Career Guidance Network of Oklahoma. In 2007 he was recognized for outstanding service by the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences. He is also the cubmaster of Ada's Cub Scout Pack 4 and was recently recognized as the Harry Miller District's outstanding cubmaster.

He holds a bachelor's degree from ECU, a master's degree in regional science from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and both a master's degree in human relations and supervision and a doctor of business administration degree from Louisiana Tech University.

The Parker Ethics Center was established at ECU in 1988 through a trust agreement to provide a forum for the presentation of issues involving business and societal ethics of interest to the business and academic community and the general public.

Oscar L. Parker was a respected educator, businessman, college administrator, civic leader and long-time ECU employee. Holcim (US) Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of cement and mineral components in the United States. With 16 manufacturing facilities and more than 76 distribution terminals, Holcim (US) Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holcim Ltd., of Switzerland, the third largest cement company in the world. Holcim (US) Inc. is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. Worldwide Holcim, Ltd. has production sites in over 70 countries and employs more than 80,000 people.

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