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.
Robert “Allyn” Troutt was working hard to become an owner/operator at a Kingsport, Tenn.-based restaurant chain. But in 2016, he applied for a Limited Service Employee (LSE) position at Eastman. After six months of working part time, he found himself with a full-time job at the company, making him a fifth-generation employee.
A 2005 graduate of Kingsport’s Sullivan North High School, Allyn earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from East Tennessee State University in 2013. He received a technical certificate in industrial operations from Northeast State Technical Community College in 2019 and today is an instrument analyst and instructor in the Building 359 chemical analytical control lab.
Allyn’s Eastman heritage began with Lucian Thomas Peters, his maternal great-great grandfather. Lucian worked from roughly 1943 to 1959, first at Holston Ordnance Works (a facility constructed by Tennessee Eastman in Kingsport to manufacture explosives during World War II) then at Tennessee Eastman Corp. Willie Isaac Light, Allyn’s maternal great-grandfather, began his Eastman career in the 1930s bagging Charkets charcoal briquettes. Willie retired in the 1970s.
Robert Light, his maternal grandfather, began with Eastman in 1965 and retired in 1997. Father David Troutt hired on in 1988 and currently works in Building 167.
Allyn remembers staying at his grandparent’s house as a child and remembers his grandmother Light meeting his grandfather Light at the plant gate at night with meals or cookies. He didn’t understand what his grandfather’s job was.
“He told me he was a foreman and only thing I could come up with for foreman was mine work and stuff, so I was thinking, ‘Is Eastman built on a cave or something?’” Allyn remembers.