Today, 84 Draper employees are being honored for their service and commitment to Draper at the company’s 2018 employee service awards luncheon.
Every year, members of the Draper family with service in five-year increments are recognized. Among this year’s group, 39 celebrated 20 or more years at Draper in 2017.
One of the highlights of the presentation is finding out who has been with Draper for the longest amount of time. This year’s prize winners for longevity are Faye Reece and Debbie Searcy, who have been with Draper for 40 years.
Faye and Debbie both started in the window shades department—Faye building shades and Debbie putting wooden slats into the bottom hems of shades.
“I am one of the lucky ones who has ‘grown up’ at Draper,” Debbie said. “I began in the factory making window shades, then moved into the office, recording invoices and payments on ledger cards. We then went to a computer system, which was quite a learning opportunity for me.”
Debbie eventually started approving credit limits and making collections calls, eventually becoming accounts receivable manager and traffic manager.
Faye’s Draper journey followed a similar path.
“I first came to Draper as a temporary employee; I was only supposed to work six weeks,” Faye said. “I worked in the shades area, building units and sewing. I also worked in easels, parts distribution, and the small projection screens cell.”
Eventually Faye became the tab-tensioned screens department head, where she remained for 20 years before recently moving back to shades as a department head.
Draper’s own journey over the past 40 years has been an extraordinary one, with Debbie and Faye both seeing big changes over time.
“We have gone from a small company of 40 people when I started to a company of 700-plus people,” Faye said. “Everything was done manually back then. Seeing the automation we use now is amazing.”
“What I am most impressed with is what has remained the same,” Debbie said. “With the passing of ownership from generation to generation through the years, the owners have always valued their employees and community. They are very respectful and appreciative of all employees. They have an open-door policy, and are genuinely interested in listening to our thoughts. As you can see from my journey at Draper, and those of other employees, they prefer to promote from within. With their leadership and clear vision, Draper has grown into the great company it is today.”
Neither Faye nor Debbie plans to retire anytime soon, so who knows? In 10 years they may be celebrating their 50th anniversaries at Draper!
“We appreciate our ‘seasoned’ employees,” company president John Pidgeon said. “The experience they bring to the table helps us reduce errors, and provides an excellent platform of knowledge from which to continue to innovate.”
The runners-up in this year’s “longevity stakes” were customer service manager Beverly Ferguson, Steve Hall, Rick Hall, and marketing manager Penny Sitler, all of whom celebrated 35 of service.
Tell us your own Draper story or leave a note of congratulations in the comments below.