Joe Solomon went to work at the Puget Sound Refinery when his daughter was just one. Nearly three decades later, Joe, now the refinery’s emergency response coordinator and fire chief, is still there. And the daughter? Stephanie Bushong, now 29, works as a capital business analyst in the refinery’s finance department.
The refinery is very much a family affair for the two of them.
“He’s been here my whole life,” Stephanie says. “A lot of the people that work here I have known for a very long time, and many of them I would consider my family.”
Stephanie’s three uncles also are refinery veterans; two recently retired. Joe first brought Stephanie to the refinery to visit when she was in grade school during the ‘Bring your child to work’ program that allowed employees of the refinery to share their work atmosphere with their children. She drew her first paycheck there as a college student about 10 years ago.
“Testing fire hoses for the fire hall was my first job as a summer-hire,” Stephanie recalls. “We had fun that first summer, it was hard work but it was fun to work in the field, use the equipment and see a lot of people I hadn’t seen in years. Needless to say it was so much fun I returned for three more summers while I finished up my degree at Western.”
Joe, who was born and raised in Concrete and has lived his entire life in the Skagit Valley, remembers some initial concerns when his daughter started working at the refinery.
“She has multiple dads out here that have known her all her life,” he recalls. “So I knew there would be a lot of eyes watching over her, and there were.”