For employees at the Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant, coworkers tend to be more than someone they share a shift with. That’s because in this Texas town, located about 30 miles east of Houston, coworkers are neighbors and sometimes even family.
Take Process Maintenance Coordinator Bill Elkins. Bill works there with his wife Tina, and though they haven’t managed to convince their daughter to join them, they’ve created an extended family of friends across the plant. This feeling continues outside the plant, too, as many of their coworkers live in the same neighborhood, adding an extra layer of connectedness.
“You know everyone’s story; you know if they’re married or they’re going through something,” says Bill. “A lot of people that transfer in, they’re a little hesitant or reserved when they get here, but before they leave they’re part of your family.”
Many people at the plant say this closeness makes it easier to solve problems and stay safe at Mont Belvieu because each person is treated as if they were a loved one. Bill’s feelings are shared by his coworkers (and neighbors) Benny and Benny’s son Myles.
“I’ve worked with a lot of these guys for 30-plus years, and they’ve known Myles all of his life,” reflects Benny. “So really, I’m not the only family he has in the plant. It makes you feel better when you’re away to know that they’re in good hands.”
For Myles, who started working at ExxonMobil five years ago, having these added mentors has helped him learn and grow at work – he’s got a ready-made community of coworkers, and he can tap into their decades of experience if he ever needs to.
The value of having clear role models at the plant holds true for the Leggett family as well. Kyle Leggett also followed in his father Jeff’s footsteps to the plant, and puts it simply: “Ever since I can remember, my dad’s worked here and I’ve seen how it’s benefitted him,” says Kyle. “In high school, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, too.”