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Pine Bend fire chief to retire after 27 years of service

Pete Herpst

Longtime Pine Bend refinery Fire Chief Pete Herpst, retired last week after being a key part of the refinery's fire department for more than a quarter century.

The military veteran, handyman and longtime volunteer firefighter joined the Pine Bend team in 1990. He managed a crew of 132 individuals, including 87 volunteers, who keep the refinery safe for its workforce and onsite contractors as well as assist local municipalities in responding to incidents. In addition, the Pine Bend refinery fire department provides free training sessions for firefighters from around the midwest.

"This is a bittersweet day for me because it's hard to say goodbye to the wonderful people at Pine Bend that I have been fortunate to collaborate with every day," said Herpst. "I've had a wonderful career and have accomplished so much thanks to the trust Flint Hills Resources placed in me. I'm looking forward to spending more time with family, friends and in my woodshop of course."

Herpst is known by everyone at Flint Hills for his commitment to training future generations of firefighters. Throughout his career, he regularly hosted firefighters from stations of all sizes to practice extinguishing fires, defensive cooling and teamwork exercises.

"All of us here at the Pine Bend refinery extend our warmest wishes to Pete and our most heartfelt thanks for his 27 years of service," said Geoff Glasrud, vice president and manufacturing manager of Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend. "Pete was instrumental in creating our fire training grounds, which has provided hundreds of free training sessions for thousands of firefighters from across the Midwest."

Herpst will be replaced by veteran Flint Hills employee Ed Steele, who has worked at the Pine Bend refinery for nearly 20 years. Steele has worked in a variety of roles during his career at Pine Bend, including production specialist, shift safety, fire department battalion chief, refinery shift manager and day process production manager.