At KEMET, we believe that our people are our greatest asset. Maybe that is why we’re able to attract and retain some of the most talented and dedicated employees around the world. There are a few people for whom KEMET was their first and only job. We are celebrating many employees this year, including one of our current, longest serving employees, Diane Oliver. She joined KEMET 50 years ago, in 1969.
For Diane, getting a job at KEMET came through a friend’s referral. “My friend Collin told me, ‘Mama took me to get a job at UCC (KEMET’s former parent company). You want me take you?’ I said, ‘Yes. I’ll do that for a couple of years.’ I’ve been here since then.”
From that simple introduction, Diane’s career at KEMET began. Throughout her time at KEMET, she has had different roles and worked in different locations around the Simpsonville, South Carolina area. As part of the close-knit Simpsonville community, she has seen the company go through a lot of changes. She developed her talents and skills at KEMET by embracing different opportunities that came her way.
“I’ve enjoyed basically everything that I’ve done since I’ve been here. I’ve been on every shift except a weekend shift and I worked at every plant in the Simpsonville area except the ceramic plant we had at Fountain Inn.”
Diane currently works in shipping, making her the final KEMET employee to see the product before it is delivered to customers. True to KEMET values, she has her eye on quality. She inspects every package and will bring it back to Quality Control if something doesn’t look perfect. She wants the customer who receives the product to have the very best experience possible. “I take pride in what I do. I just try to do my best. I want to make my day count. When I walk through the front door and I’m going to get a paycheck, I want to feel like I’ve worked for it.”
Diane has come full circle in her KEMET career, as her very first job at KEMET was also in the shipping area. At the time of her first job at KEMET she was a new parent, and KEMET was supportive when she needed time to take care of her family needs. The support she has received from KEMET throughout the years for family commitments is something she appreciates deeply. Forming relationships with supervisors and mentors helped her to advance her career and to achieve work/life balance. And Diane wasn’t the only person in her family who chose to work at KEMET. Three of her sisters also enjoyed long careers at KEMET.
Like many at KEMET, Diane is a person who thrives when she is challenged. At one point, she was in a position that was no longer challenging her. A good mentor, Mary Brittain, encouraged her to apply for an open position in the Film department. “I went to her office and I said, ‘I am so bored. I don’t know what to do.’”
Mary suggested, “I have a job open over here, and George from the Film department is over there. You should interview for that job.” Diane did and she got the job!
George Latimer turned out to be an important mentor to Diane. “We had a very good working relationship. I began in his area as an expediter, but he gave me an opportunity to become a stores coordinator.” The stores coordinator is responsible for managing back inventory in the plant.
“One of reasons I wanted to do my best at KEMET is that they have been good to me. They’ve just had people here that have always wanted to help. In return you just got to be that kind of person that people will want to help. Yes, I’ve enjoyed these 50 years. I can’t believe it.”