Judy Schrewe, administrative assistant to the Wood River Refinery manager and the technical service manager, marked her 50th anniversary at the refinery on June 9.
For Judy Schrewe, administrative assistant to the Wood River Refinery manager and the technical service manager, the Wood River Refinery is much more than a workplace. It is a home, a family, and a constant opportunity for personal and professional development.
June 9, 2014, marked Schrewe’s 50th anniversary at the Wood River Refinery. Starting right out of high school, Schrewe has seen a lot of growth over the years at the refinery, and the refinery has seen a lot of growth from her.
“I basically ‘grew up’ at the refinery,” Schrewe said. “When I began employment, I was an immature teenager who thought she knew everything. I realized years later how fortunate I was not only to have the employment I did, but to have it secured before I even graduated from high school.”
Schrewe started at the Wood River Refinery just five days after graduating from high school. Baby-sitting was the only work experience she had at the time. She took a carpool to her first day of work and was dropped off about 45 minutes before her day was scheduled to start. Schrewe waited in the cafeteria, unfamiliar with all of her surroundings, until it was time to report to Duplicating, where she spent her first year of employment.
One of the biggest changes Schrewe has seen throughout the years involves technology used at the refinery. Schrewe worked with an evolution of copy machines during her time in Duplicating, including a ditto machine, AB Dick Offset machine, and a Xerox copier. Many of the machines were temperamental or required weekly cleanings. The introduction of the Memory Typewriter saved Schrewe and others a lot of time because the machine had memory storage space for 50 pages of typing. The 5520 system also gave the refinery its first opportunity to share documents between sites.
On Nov. 1, 1989, Schrewe accepted her current assignment as administrative assistant to the Wood River Refinery manager. She started with a new refinery manager who had just transferred to Wood River. Since taking on her current role, Schrewe has supported six refinery managers. During her tenure at Wood River Refinery, she has worked for 12 refinery managers.
Schrewe’s role is extensive and goes well beyond the normal responsibilities associated with administrative support. An organizer at heart, Schrewe proves she thrives when managing special projects for the refinery. She assisted with a building project when two new office buildings were built in 2007-2008. She often coordinates large special events, such as the refinery’s annual scholarship recognition lunch and refinery milestone celebrations, as well as ongoing key refinery visits from the CEO and boards of directors of Phillips 66 and Cenovus Energy. One of her favorite projects involved the initial planning of the refinery’s holiday light display, which started in 2003 and is now a refinery tradition.
Schrewe said she firmly believes in the Wood River Refinery’s family atmosphere. Whether it’s checking in on other employees or volunteering at community events, Schrewe said refinery employees always have shown a concern for one another.
“I believe we have always had a family atmosphere here, no matter whose sign was posted at the gate,” Schrewe said. “Employees really care about each other and what happens to their extended families.”
As someone who has had much experience in the workforce, Schrewe has a wealth of advice for young people looking to start their first job. She credits her parents for shaping her work ethic, which includes her honesty, her loyalty to her employer, and her fair treatment of all coworkers – qualities which would be appreciated by any employer. Schrewe encourages new employees to listen to the older employees around them and to respect the years of experience they can bring to a situation. Even 50 years later, Schrewe knows that she can still relate to the next generation of new employees.
“I’ve never forgotten through the years what it is like to be ‘new.’ I’ve always tried to be helpful to not only new employees but also more seasoned employees along the way,” Schrewe said.
Schrewe is proud of her career and the things she has been able to accomplish, but she also loves the titles she holds as wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother. She believes she has the “best of all worlds” with the opportunities that life has offered her.
Schrewe is also an advocate for respect in the workplace. She encourages all employees to hold one another in high regard, no matter their position or title.
“A number of years ago, I was introduced by my manager as his ‘partner,’ not as his secretary. That was perhaps the turning point of my career,” Schrewe said. “I felt I had his respect, and he certainly had mine. I felt I was on his team.”
Schrewe’s dedication and perseverance have given her a rewarding career with many opportunities for growth. Her level of service is a true testament to her character, and she is thankful for the managers she has worked with who have helped shape her into the assistant she is today.
“Would I want to do anything else? Absolutely not,” Schrewe said. “I love what I do, and I’ve always been fortunate to work for class people who have treated me well and have afforded me many opportunities I wouldn’t have had working anywhere else.”
The Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery would like to thank Judy Schrewe for all that she has done in the past 50 years. Her level of dedication and commitment to responsibility is apparent each and every day. The refinery thanks her for her attention to detail, her devotion to excellence, and her love for other people. The Wood River Refinery is proud to honor Schrewe for her 50 years of commendable service.
“Judy has had a remarkable career and is a joy to work with as she goes above and beyond in her support of the refinery manager and the refinery,” Wood River Refinery Manager Jay Churchill said. “It is a rare occurrence for someone to celebrate 50 years at the same place of employment. But then Judy is a special individual.”