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.
At first, Palmer Clinton “Clint” Robinette II did not want to work at Eastman. He had no interest in being a fourth-generation employee. Instead of planning his life around Kingsport, Tenn., and Eastman, he set off to explore himself in Cookeville, Tenn. Clint began his journey at Tennessee Tech studying engineering, but before he knew it, he was interviewing for a co-op position back home at Eastman’s corporate headquarters.
Being a co-op, though, didn’t mean Clint had to stay at Eastman; he could have gone anywhere after his term was over. But as he was wrapping up his time at Eastman, he met his future wife and then accepted a full-time position just one month after he graduated. His strong desire to not become the next generation Eastman employee quickly disappeared after he fully experienced the company’s culture.
“At the time, I really wasn’t even thinking about wanting to steer clear of going back to Kingsport. I just wanted a job,” Clint says. “I simply walked into the interview with the attitude of nothing to lose, and the rest is history.”
It’s hard to imagine why Clint would have chosen not to pursue a job at Eastman since he has many positive memories of the company from his childhood, like when his parents took him and his sister to the Toy F. Reid Employee Center for the company Christmas party.
"I remember going upstairs to get a present, which was usually a nice toy, and then we would head down to the auditorium to watch Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny cartoons for an hour or so.
“I think it made us feel very special as kids,” Clint says. “It was a way for us to visit our Dad’s workplace."
Clint’s great grandfather, Marion Palmer Robinette, was the first of his family to join the Eastman team in 1939. He was a general laborer for 25 years who manually loaded coal into a furnace. Many stories have been passed down to Clint of his great grandfather’s work. One funny story is about Marion Robinette’s wife bringing him lunch every day.