Kelly, Earl W. (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In his interview, Earl Kelly details his career in plant operations at the DuPont Kinston facilities. He provides a thorough description of the ETF spinning process at Kinston. The process was one of the first times that split processes were converted to a coupled process, which was a major process change invented and lead by DuPont. His interview provides an example of the day-to-day contributions of individuals to a large manufacturing entity.
Gee, Carol (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
During her interview, Carol Gee discusses ingredient marketing with references to Nylon, Lycra, and Teflon. She particularly details her view on the positive and negative uses of end user advertising. She also discusses her opinion that DuPont did not receive enough value from the large advertising firms with which they contracted. She later comments on the personnel shift that occurred in 1993 in regards to marketing and communication staff. Gee also discusses several marketing efforts she was involved in, providing insights into Textile Fibers' approaches to marketing.
Vane, Mary K. (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In her interview, Mary Vane discusses her career in marketing, management, and trade relations at DuPont. She provides insight into DuPont's approach to marketing in the 1970s and 1980s, distinguishing between end-use research and market research.
Addressing her career chronologically, she describes her role as a marketing representative in Mew York in DuPont's expansion with Lycra into women's swimwear and activewear. She then details the challenges she faced after moving into a management positions in 1980 at a time when Nylon was being oversold.
She then discusses her move to Wilmington in 1981, first as a Business Strategist for Lycra and later as Marketing Manager for the intimate apparel, swimwear, and activewear business. She gives insight in DuPont's involvement in the fashion industry at this time, detailing how DuPont had to maintain a presence at the major New York fashion shows in order to stay relevant in the business.
Vane then discusses the business strategies involved in her next position as Business Manager for nylon, Lycra, and the polyester warp knit business. She follows this by detailing the mergers and acquisitions she was involved in as Business Planning Manager and Global Sourcing Manager for industrial fibers.
Vane then details her 1997 assignment as Director of International Trade and Business Development, where her focus was to shape U.S. government trade policy to help our businesses proactively make better business decisions. She discusses NAFTA and other efforts underway and her wide depth of experience in the international trade arena.
Vane also spends a portion of the interview discussing DuPont's implementation of a sexual harassment policy around 1990s and her role as a course instructor for Textile Fibers employees.
Axtell, Robert (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In his interview, Axtell describes DuPont's approach to marketing Qiana in the late 1960s and his involvement with the project. He details the ways in which the sales management group, the end-use group, and the retail group, all within the marketing division of Textile Fibers, coordinated their efforts to build a market for Quiana. He attributes the product's eventual demise, however, to DuPont's failure to find a way to prevent the product from puckering during sewing.
Axtell then describes his role in the market research team that was formed to address DuPont's carpet business. He mentions that his previous experience in fashion marketing served him well in this new role. He then discusses his assignments post-STAINMASTER, which included managing the global business for Tyvek and industrial nylon. He details his later return to residential carpet. He states that while he and his team were able to regain some ground in the business, carpet mills had essentially retaken the market.
Towards the end of his interview, Axtell discusses general marketing concepts and the environment of mentoring he experienced during his career with DuPont.
Harris, Joyce (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In her interview, Joyce Harris describes her career at the DuPont Kinston plant. As a child, she lived in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where her parents worked in the local cotton mill. Later they moved to the Virginia Beach area to help with the war effort. Her father was hired at DuPont on start up as a mechanic and the family moved to Grifton, which at the time was becoming the community for the DuPont workers. It was in this environment that Harris finished school and after year in nursing school applied for a job at the DuPont Kinston. During this time, she married Roger Harris (whose interview is also archived). She was offered a position at DuPont and her first assignment was bobbin prep, a standard entry level job at the plant which entailed cleaning yarn from spinning bobbins and inspecting them prior to reuse.
Harris then moved to the Draw wind area. At the time this was an all-women assignment. The spinning assignment was all men at the time. The assignments which Harris explains was to doff, restock, restring, and patrol the machines. She could not remember the number of machines but it was a lot. This was the end of the two step yarn production process where the yarn was drawn, twisted and wound on customer bobbins. Harris describes the different jobs within the draw winding area.
Harris then got a transfer to the PT lab by an ambiguous job selection process. Harris felt comfortable in the new role, and she explains the test machines prior to automation and after automation, concluding that manually testing was far less accurate than the automated testing. She describes all the yarn test machines and their purpose. As management changes allowed her to increase her responsibility she did so, becoming the scheduler for group.
Harris also describes the maternity leave policy for Kinston. The policy was clear and unchangeable but required the mother to leave at 5 months and return 2 months after birth. Service was lost during this period but the job was saved for the employee's return. Harris recalls the early policy (1961 to 1964) but is unclear as to later changes.
Harris, Roger (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In his interview, Roger Harris describes the progression system at the DuPont Kinston, North Carolina, works and the machine operation in both the staple and yarn area in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Harris was in yarn and made several significant contributions to the operations which he describes in fair detail. Harris also details progressing from the plant entry level to the highest level of the nonexempt progression system. He describes utilizing his creativity to make improvements to the operations at Kinston and the support he received in his efforts by plant supervision. As things changed over the years the Technical Assistants (TA), as Harris was, were given more authority and responsibility and Harris relished this change. He describes being one of the first TA's given assistance to operations (ato) in the spinning area. an assignment with much responsibility. Harris was later assigned to the CP area as the ato TA, the position he held at retirement. He finally remarks on his role as secretary of the Retired From DuPont (RFD) club for the Kinston plant.
Estes, Cheryl (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In her interview, Cheryl Estes provides insight into the experience of female employees at the DuPont Martinsville, Virginia plant. Estes describes her first job as a wage role operator in the textile area organization and work crews, detailing that the textile area contained 350 drawtwisters with 144 "women's only" operating positions on each drawtwister. Estes describes the changing policies for female employees during her time at Martinsville, significantly that that plant jobs were opened up to all employees regardless of sex and the maternity leave policies were updated. Once the jobs were opened, Estes describes how she progressed to higher levels with the goal of entering a craft position. Testing was required for entry and Estes studied and passed the test. DuPont supported her during a three year period of study at a local community college to become a plant electrician. Estes describes her completion of the work and assignment as a relief shift electrician. Her next move was to a group called field maintenance which had construction responsibility for the plant projects. Estes advanced to maintenance planner, which was a promotion from wage roll to nonexempt.
Estes also speaks about the shutdown of the Martinsville and mentions that many employees believed the local union and its hostile attitude toward DuPont was at least partly responsible for the closing.
Crainshaw, Dwight (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In his interview, Dwight Crainshaw discusses his career as an operator at the Cape Fear site, where he was the first operator to be hired. Crainshaw describes how he opted for the operations job after deciding he did not have the basic skills to be a mechanic. Since the highest skill level in operations was the continuous polymerization operator (CPO) this was the assignment for Crainshaw. DuPont gave him and others a six month training program aimed at understanding the polymerization process. This was book learning in the plant under construction. Since Crainshaw was hired first and went directly to CPO he completely bypassed the spinning assignments, which was very unusual. He discusses many events where he (and others) took the lead to address and correct a problem. He mentions the "minimum adequate" concept that was used to build this plant. This was a clear attempt to avoid the excesses that existed in previous plants. The concept "not to staff for emergencies" is also mentioned and was one of the key principles of the Cape Fear Plant. Crainshaw worked as CPO for a number of years and related his experiences in that assignment and then he moved to power. He discusses the power operator assignment and how two operators ran the area, and this was a good example of the "not to staff for emergencies" concept. He also mentions the Iranian trainees and offers his viewpoint of their brief training period.
Clark, Wayne (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In his interview, Clark describes his career at the DuPont Co. Martinsville, Virginia, works. Clark describes knowing what he wanted to do and preparing himself to progress. He discusses the quirks available within the plant progression system such a "buying" a shift and being "frozen" in his job and going through spinning on paper. He describes progressing to a group 6 pipefitter, a prestigious position, by studying and applying himself. He was promoted to first line supervisor in operations at first. He supervised one half of the beaming area, which was all women and proved to be a unique experience for him. Later he move through a number of exempt jobs with one period as a shift supervisor in the Power House. The Power House was responsible for supplying services to the operations and Clark notes importance of this job. He indicates he was not comfortable with the assignment and moved out after a period of time, a move that was not unusual at the time.
Clark was recognized as a people person and assigned to Engineering as a resource person. Clark discusses from his viewpoint the impact the Martinsville local union had on the plant shut down decision, a viewpoint which is widely held by others familiar with the circumstances. Clark held a wide variety of assignments and mentions the people he worked for and with during his career; this description serves as a makeshift organization chart of the plant.
Clark, Hazel (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In her interview, Clark discusses the area jobs women had in the "textile area" of the DuPont Martinsville, Virginia, works. DuPont employed about 2500 women, most of them worked in the beaming and textile areas. Clark worked in these areas and describes the work assignments, providing insight into the way DuPont managed female employees in the 1950's through the 1970's. She discusses the draw twisting process in detail, which was the basis for the early nylon production process and the reason DuPont employed large numbers of women at the early textile yarn plants. She also comments on the enforcement of the disability program and smoking rules at the plant. Clark also describes her movement around the plant as a secretary after earning a business degree and various other areas she worked, providing additional insight into the plant organizational structure.
Hall, John (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
John Hall describes his career as an operator at the DuPont Martinsville plant, and his interview provides insight into plant life from a wage roll viewpoint. It provides a clear understanding of the problems and lack of solutions DuPont developed while trying to modernize the spinning areas.
Hall's early years describe what it was to live in the rural mountainous area of southwest Virginia. After several attempts he was hired by DuPont in 1968. It is significant to note that Hall describes the hiring as 500/600 in 1965 and 300 in 1968. He was in the latter group and the large group ahead of his affected his seniority all through his career.
Hall describes the T28 and T29 spinning machines which were the light denier modernized spinning machines. They were installed at Martinsville and later moved to Chattanooga. The process was not at all liked by the operators and Hall describes how and why. He relates the life of an operator in the spinning area and also relates various concerns about management decisions.
Flynn, Jim (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
Flynn spends a significant portion of the interview discussing his role in the construction of a DuPont Poly Acryl plant in Iran. He recalls the difficulties faced during the process in detail, commenting on the complicated politics involved with the project and providing insight into the Textile Fibers Department's efforts at global expansion. Flynn also relates some details about the major change in the DuPont Engineering Construction Division from union shop to nonunion. The incident at the Cape Fear River is discussed and is a significant turning point in the move to nonunion. He also provides insight on the Engineering Department's shift from a "functional organization" to one more supportive of the businesses as prescribed by DuPont Co. management.
Krol, John A. (interviewee), Plasky, Joseph G. (interviewer)
In his interview, John Krol details the following three phases of his career: nuclear submarine development in the Navy, development engineer to senior management at DuPont Co., and his post-DuPont career serving on various boards in industry, education, and charitable organizations. Krol describes his early life in Massachusetts, crediting his grandfather for developing his sense of discipline, expectations, and high standards. He then details his education at Tufts, which he attended on an ROTC scholarship, and his post-college naval service. He describes his experience in an elite naval group working on nuclear submarine development under the command of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover.
Krol then transitions to his career at DuPont, explaining his reasons for this career shift. He describes the opportunities for career advancement available to him as he held a variety of engineering and management positions. Krol also discusses his experience in manufacturing at Old Hickory and relates some of the events around a threatened strike there. He then discusses his promotion to a marketing sales position and his later impact in the Agriculture Products Department. He then details his experience as President of the Textile Fibers Department and later as Chairmen of the Board of Directors and President of DuPont Co.