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Community will reap reward of Ellenburg's retirement from Mitsubishi Polyester Film

Published on Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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Phil Ellenburg, center, has been a board member and Mitsubishi Polyester Film (MPF) volunteer for the Greer Soup Kitchen. Ellenburg participates in the Merle State Walk in November that benefits the Soup Kitchen.
 

Mitsubishi Polyester Film Photo

Phil Ellenburg, center, has been a board member and Mitsubishi Polyester Film (MPF) volunteer for the Greer Soup Kitchen. Ellenburg participates in the Merle State Walk in November that benefits the Soup Kitchen.

 



Enlarge photo

Phil Ellenburg, left, helped organize the 50th anniversary of Mitsubishi Polyester Film held last year at the Greer plant.
 

Photo submitted

Phil Ellenburg, left, helped organize the 50th anniversary of Mitsubishi Polyester Film held last year at the Greer plant.

 



Enlarge photo

Phil Ellenburg helped steer Mitsubishi Polyester Film's involvement in the Greer community through volunteers and charitable donations.
 

Photo submitted

Phil Ellenburg helped steer Mitsubishi Polyester Film's involvement in the Greer community through volunteers and charitable donations.

 

By Jonathan King
For GreerToday.com

Phil Ellenburg’s retirement from Mitsubishi Polyester Film (MPF) gives him more time to refurbish antique clocks, work on his car, and volunteer in the community.

Ellenburg, former human resources manager, is emblematic of a growing number of senior executives and employees who have spent nearly their entire careers at the plant and are facing retirement.

He was “the man behind the scenes at our plant,” Rose Marchek, Mitsubishi’s HR director, said. “A lot of times you don’t see him, but he’s instrumental in a lot of the key processes that we have. His legacy is that he has trained several generations of managers and supervisors.”

It was also Ellenburg who steered MPF as a community steward, investing and developing leaders to participate in Greer’s non-profits. “Our company evolved into a company that cared more about our community and the people in it, and we started doing more outside of the walls of Mitsubishi,” he said.

Mitsubishi Polyester Film has also become a corporate partner in the Partnership for Tomorrow and its focus on future growth and quality of life in Greer.

Ellenburg’s leadership on boards created awareness for countless MPF employees who then also became volunteers. “While working for Mitsubishi, we became involved in Greer Relief, and I worked on the board there,” Ellenburg said. “We became involved in the Greer Soup Kitchen. We participated in the walks and we did fundraising for them. And the Taylors Free Medical Clinic. They’re doing a great job over there, and Mitsubishi became part of that.

“So it was really a lot of fun seeing those things help the people that needed help out here. There’s a lot of people today that don’t realize how blessed we are with having good jobs like Mitsubishi and other things, and there’s people out there suffering.”

Ellenburg encouraged MPF to initiate a Junior Leadership Greer scholarship, which his company still maintains with the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce.

It is rare for any tours to be given to individuals or groups at the highly secure MPF facility. Only two years ago MPF offered a tour to legislators who had bemoaned the fact they repeatedly asked. The tour coincided the 50th anniversary for Mitsubishi Polyester Film.

Amusingly, because of Ellenburg’s involvement and belief in Junior Leadership, the student group toured Mitsubishi Polyester Film. “He was always encouraging our students and giving his time to the Chamber with a smile,” Mark Owens, President/CEO of the chamber, said.

Within Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Ellenburg put his stamp on improving the work environment. “We went through a lot of changes over the years at Mitsubishi. Thirty-eight years is a long time. We changed our medical plan where we actually put a doctor’s office onsite, and I think that was a big plus for us. I was part of that, so it made me feel good to see that come to fruition.”

MPF provided Ellenburg an opportunity to climb the corporate ladder while completing his education and becoming a citizen of the community he worked. “I’ve never been a patient person, and I found out working for Mitsubishi that if you work hard and do your job, things will come to you eventually. You just have to hang in there. I was always one that wanted things right now.

“They helped me finish my education and they helped me acquire a home and a good lifestyle so that I could be more patient and wait on those things to happen,” he said.

Marchek said Ellenburg’s knowledge of the intricacies of the plant helped him become a specialist to other executives. “He had a wealth of knowledge from growing up in the plant and working so many different jobs,” Marchek said. “The CEO and the COO would often call him into their office to get advice from him.”

That same relationship will be missed between Marchek and Ellenburg. His memory was like “a history lesson,” she said. “It helps you not go down the wrong path again. ‘Here’s what happened the last time we did it, and maybe we could do it better.’ But we don’t have that, because we don’t have Phil. He was good to bounce things off of and who would give you an honest answer and have no agenda,” Marchak said.

Giving back to the company was only natural for Ellenburg. “They hire really good people, and it’s more like a family atmosphere than it is just a job,” he said. “They helped me finish my education, they helped me acquire a home and a good lifestyle.”

Marchek said she misses their professional relationship. “He was a great friend as well as a colleague,” she said. “Of course, I could always pick up the phone and call him.”

There may be less chance of that now that Ellenburg has a full-time list of personal activities.

“I have hobbies. I refurbish and restore antique clocks. I like cars. I’ve got an old car I’m going to work on. And possibly get back involved in the community as much as possible. I haven’t done that yet because I’ve only been off a couple of weeks, but I’ll probably get back into volunteering in the community through the Chamber and through church and other things.”

 

 

 

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