Preserving History – an employee initiative
Aug 08, 2019
Vi Cooper, former Shell employee and historic society member, fondly remembers her role in preserving the site’s history.
I came to work for Shell Deer Park in 1977 during the Major Projects era when the Plant was undergoing some major changes. I came just as the Refinery and Chemical Plant became known as the Deer Park Manufacturing Company (DPMC). I was fortunate to be a part of developing the Records Management program just as Head Office had completed a study and began development of the Records Satellite File Centers. Mostly paper and microfilm documents were handled by 10 file centers. Things certainly changed over the years as computers became the records storage devices!
Because records were so important as the company's memory and history, I was very interested in preserving Shell Deer Park's records. It was timely that I got to work with Maurine Bishop who was responsible for Records Management from 1959 to 1991. Her mother, Vivian Tucker, served as a secretary for three plant managers, starting in 1936 until she retired in 1957. I was very impressed with the thought that mother and daughter worked for the same company for their full careers, especially at a plant and especially during that time period!
One of my favorite memories was in 1983, Herb Butler got some interested employees together to form the Shell Deer Park Historical Society. Maurine Bishop and I were charter members of that organization and were actively involved even after our retirements until it was dissolved in 2015. We obtained and preserved Shell memorabilia that employees and the company donated for historical preservation. There were so many items that we developed an accession program to inventory and track artifacts for display. The company designated space for us to open a museum just inside the Chemical Main Gate in 1990. We were open to public visits until the fence was built around the plant in 2001. We had displays at different locations within the Plant and some at other locations. We participated in many Shell events at the plant and at other Shell locations like the Shell Houston Open in 1993. We participated in the City of Deer Park's events such as Deer Park Sesquicentennial parade and exhibits in Dow Park. We built the log cabin/service station float that was used many different times for various events. We also participated in the D-Day +50 exhibits at the Battleground event in 1994. We had many wonderful co-workers at the plant who were a vital part of that organization! We were like a family. Our motto was "Preserving Yesterday Today for Tomorrow".
I was also honored to have worked with the 10 and Over Committee with Bill Davis. That Committee helped plan and execute the annual party which had started in 1939. I started on the committee in 1996 and was active through 2016. This committee and event was later changed to the Shell Deer Park Reunion committee and party in 2004. Shell employees and retirees were like a family, and it was such an honor to serve on this committee!
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Shell Deer Park invests in the latest technology and makes improvements in operating procedures and training programs so it reduces its footprint and achieves continuous improvement in environmental performance.
At Deer Park Chemicals, we power progress by providing the building blocks that make everyday products and are the solutions for our future, all from the historic birthplace of Texas.