The pioneering spirit of this company was born early and laid a strong foundation for future generations. Eastman has current team members who proudly serve as fourth and fifth generation employees and who possess values they say were passed on by those who came before them. These are their stories.
Siblings join father to become fourth-generation team members
As children of a third-generation Eastman team member, neither Cameron Morelock nor his younger sister, Bri Morelock Jorgenson, had any interest in joining the company. Cameron envisioned a career either in marine biology or pharmacy. Bri’s interests were as a veterinarian or nurse.
But, as so often happens, Cameron and Bri did join their father, Brian R. Morelock, making them the fourth generation of Morelocks at the Kingsport, Tenn., site. All total, the Morelock family has 75 years of service at Eastman, from 1936 to 1962 (26 years) and from 1971 to present (49 years).
“My family has worked hard at Eastman,” Brian says. “When people talk about my grandfather and my father, they all say, ‘They were good men.’ I want us to continue that legacy. I enjoy watching Cameron and Brianna growing in their Eastman careers. My dad was a lab technician at Eastman and Cameron hired in as a lab technician and was recently promoted to lab technologist. Brianna is a graphic designer and has been part of some great projects at Eastman. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve people, challenge them to work hard, and help them achieve their goals. Eastman challenges us to work hard, improve performance, and continue to learn and innovate.”
Brian grew up in Kingsport. His father, Gilbert Lee Morelock Jr., was a lab technician in research. He died in 1964. His grandfather, Gilbert Lee Morelock Sr., retired from Acetate Yarn division in 1962 and passed away in 1978. Brian’s sister, Becky Morelock Bacon, worked in medical records and in the research library before she died in 1992.
Brian recalls attending Horse Krickers on Saturday mornings, the Eastman Christmas parties in Building 89, and roller skating with friends in B89.
“When the Toy F. Reid Employee Center opened, we enjoyed going to movies and playing pool upstairs. As parents, we enjoyed taking Cameron to the Employee Center for the company Christmas party,” he recalls.
Brian earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tennessee Tech in 1985 — a field of study driven by his love of cars — with his sights set on working for Eastman.
“I’ve always wanted to work at Eastman. While in college, I worked two summers for Steadman Construction inside Eastman. When I graduated in June 1985, Eastman did not have an opening that summer, but thought they would in the fall … but I had a firm job offer from DuPont in Aiken, S.C., so I took that job. I worked there until December 1988 when I had an opportunity to interview at Holston Defense Corp. (an Eastman company) and gladly accepted their job offer so I could move back home. I have been working at Eastman since December 27, 1988, as a mechanical engineer.”
Today, Brian is an engineering associate who serves as the group leader for Materials, Vessels, and Piping Technology (MVPT) in Process Engineering.
Cameron’s earliest memories of Eastman are from “Take your Kid to Work” days. “I was able to come in with my dad when the sixth floor of Building 54D was being renovated and help him move his office until the renovations were complete. I don’t know that I helped much but I did enjoy getting pushed around the sixth floor in his office chair while holding books on my lap,” he recalls.
Cameron earned a degree in chemistry from East Tennessee State University in 2013 and was hired as a Limited Service Employee [LSE] analyst in September 2014. He was hired as a full-time Materials Lab technician in October 2015 and promoted to Materials Lab technologist this year.
The job that Cameron didn’t want he now considers a privilege, he says.
“It wasn’t my first choice but now I wouldn’t trade it for anything. … It just never occurred to me that I would one day call B54D my workspace. The kicker in all of it is that I get to work alongside my dad, and I could have never imagined such a privilege,” he says.
Bri is a 2017 graduate of ETSU with a major in digital media and minor in graphic design. Today she is a graphic designer in Marketing Communications where she designs print, digital, trade show, web, social, and video content for Specialty Plastics and several corporate initiatives.
“I met the creative team manager at my senior portfolio review, but Eastman wasn't hiring at the time. I didn't think much of it because I was on track to join a local ad agency but held onto that business card just in case,” Bri explains. “Fast forward a year and a half later and I accepted a graphic design position on that same creative manager's team. I love that story. I'm honored to work at Eastman.”
The fourth-generation employees say they take pride in carrying on the Morelock legacy at Eastman. walking in the footsteps of their father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
“I’m honored to carry on a legacy of Morelocks who have worked here,” Bri explains. “The most special would be my aunt, Becky Morelock Bacon. She passed away due to cancer before I was born, but my middle name came from her. She worked at Eastman up until she was no longer able to for health reasons. I feel that I carry a bit of her with me.”
“I take pride knowing that I am walking in the same footsteps of my great-grandfather and grandfather,” Cameron adds. “Being able to share how Eastman has changed and helping guide future innovation makes me proud to be an Eastman employee.”