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50 Years and Counting

Friends since high school, Judy Barefoot, Bobby Galloway and Jimmy Jordan had no idea when they graduated in 1965 that they would celebrate milestone work anniversaries together in 2014. Bobby and Jimmy met in Carpentry class, and everyone knew Judy, former Miss S.C. Farm Bureau with the beautiful singing voice. After graduation, all three joined Sonoco – Judy in Payroll, Bobby in Machinery Manufacturing and Jimmy in the Cone department.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes,” said Judy. “Sonoco has tried a lot of different payroll systems over the years, and I’ve used them all.” When she was hired in February 1965, there were seven employees in the Payroll department who did everything by hand – with the help of a calculator and an adding machine. Despite the changes, Judy still loves every aspect of her job.

Bobby, who was hired as a trainee, has held many different roles in the Machinery Manufacturing group – working the shop for 10 years, traveling for 25 helping with plant installation and trouble-shooting and now training new employees on the assembly side. He enjoys “teaching the young ones to use tools, think ahead and build machines.” He enjoys giving them a hard time too, challenging them to “keep up with a 68-year-old.”

After working three summers as a trainee before graduation, Jimmy joined Sonoco’s Cone department in March 1965. At that time, the department was producing almost 3 million cones per day and had nearly 700 hourly employees. “We did everything by hand – one person for every operation. Now everything is automated.” After spending 34 years in the Cone department, most recently as a shift supervisor, Jimmy moved into the Cylinder department as an office coordinator, where he’s spent the last 15 years.

When asked when the trio plans to retire, Judy responded, “We’ve all seen ups and downs, but we’re thankful and proud of our long tenure here. We love our jobs and Sonoco has allowed us to provide for our families. They also keep us sharp. I’m still excited to come to work each day. As long as we’re contributing, we’ll keep working.”

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