Always willing to help

Published 3:21 pm Sunday, July 24, 2011

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. — It’s a rainy early morning and Dianne Clement has settled in at her Catlettsburg Refinery office. She isn’t taking a breather. Her schedule is packed with a staff meeting, morning mixer over pastries and an evening committee get-together for Ashland’s Winter Wonderland of Lights.

It’s a day in the life of the Senior Community Relations Representative of Marathon Petroleum Company LP. The day starts at 5:30 a.m. and doesn’t end until late when she heads-out of the plant. There is always a lot to do with her various charitable organization efforts.

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On New Year’s Day, Clement celebrated her retirement after 44 years of consummate company service and accomplishments.

“It will be nice to relax awhile and have a cup of coffee at 9 or 10 in the morning,” laughed the gracious 62-year-old Frankin Furnace, Ohio wife, mom and grandma.

Clement said she was a “baby” when she started working there, when the company was still on 14th Street and Winchester Avenue, in Ashland, Ky. She witnessed growth, change and community espousal.

“I have loved coming to work here over the years.”

That’s because of her loyal co-workers — who became dear friends.

“I’ve enjoyed every second of it,” she said, speaking of her tight-knit human resources department. “We share laughter, cry together and support each other. This refinery isn’t just a great machine. We are your community. We sit next to you at church, cheer on your kids at ballgames, and eat in your restaurants.

“We are the people of the Tri-State. The refinery fuels all of us.”

From her first position in accounting until today, she recalls long hours and hard work. Growing up, she was told by her bosses to get involved in area causes. She heeded that advice and has a lengthy dossier of philanthropic volunteer service to prove it.

“Thank goodness for rechargeable batteries,” smiled Clement, saying she will never regret the sacrifices. “This crazy schedule keeps me young.”

Clement recommends young professionals get involved.

“You really need to find something you have the passion for and dedicate your time and resources to make a program successful,” she paused. “At the same time, don’t just put your name on a board or committee list. If you enlist yourself, bring your passion. Otherwise, it’s not fair to the agency — or you.

“Always be there. Don’t just physically participate. Bring your heart.”

Though retirement will mean Clement will cut-back on some of her advocate work, she plans to still help out. Her first priority is strong continued commitment and devotion to Ironton’s Central Christian Church, where she is a loyal parishioner.

She will keep her hand in the workings of the Paramount Arts Center, just to a lesser degree. She is currently the board chairwoman.

“We are so fortunate to have this venue. There is something for every audience,” Clement praised.

Though Clement is anticipating summer vacations by the pool and visits with family in Texas, it’s bittersweet saying goodbye to her longtime career.

“I have been so fortunate. Though we have grown, it’s still the same company we were years ago. A group of wonderful people,” she said, emphasizing that the Catlettsburg refinery has close to 850 faithful employees and 1,500 contractors.

Clement doesn’t ask for recognition for her steadfastness and conscientiousness. She just offers guidance to young staff members. She instructs them to plan and set priorities — but also grasp your work might go out the window with a simple phone call.

Never think you’re indispensable; there is always someone to take your place. Don’t miss work. Do your best at the position you’re in. Give your colleagues space if they’re having a bad day.

“Always think the best of people.”

Clement will be remembered.

“It has been an incredible career,” she said.