Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group is like a large family with hundreds of relatives. Some of those relatives are actually kinfolk. In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a look at some of our hardworking PTTG ladies and their equally dedicated PTTG children and grandchildren.
Mother and daughter
Lori Lawless works for accounts payable for Allstate, which is under the Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group umbrella. Lawless will have been with the company for 11 years as of July 2019.
Her daughter, Emily Oettle, has been a prospector in the Maintenance Division for about six months. Working at the same company appealed to Oettle.
“I have always had a special relationship with (PTTG President) Ben (Johnston), but, yes, I could absolutely answer yes that I wanted to work here because my mom does,” Oettle said. “Seeing such a wonderful company that has such an involved atmosphere with their employees was an eye catcher too.”
Lawless said of working at the same company as her daughter, “It hasn’t been any different. I didn’t want her being my daughter to ever get in the way of either of our responsibilities.”
She added, “She has heard me talk about different things over the years and now she has a better understanding of what I have been talking about all this time.”
Their work schedules are mostly the same – though Lawless comes in and leaves a half hour later than her daughter – allowing them to synch up their schedules enough to go to lunch often. Lawless also adjusted her schedule at one point so the two could even carpool to work.
“When I first started working here, I didn’t have a car for a few months at first,” Oettle said. “So, every single morning I rode into work with her. Well, her car, but I made her let me drive.”
Though they work in different divisions, they still see each other quite often. Oettle works in a bullpen area, so she usually stops by her mom’s office if she needs to speak to her.
“I work upstairs, and she is downstairs,” said Oettle about working at the same company as her mom,” but generally enjoy it. It’s nice to be able to call and ask if my mom wants to have lunch together. Or if I am busy and need her to bring me back lunch or something, it’s really convenient.”
Oettle also returns the favor, sometimes picking up lunch for her mother.
Being in different divisions puts a kibosh on any potential competition, so Oettle said she feels her mom “roots me on more than anything.” It’s also comforting.
“Just knowing I have my mom right downstairs is comforting in itself,” Oettle said. “She’s literally feet away, even if I just need to go get a quick hug.”
In some ways, working at the same company has brought them closer.
“We have always been super close, but being able to have lunch together and seeing each other during work hours couldn’t ever hurt, right?” Oettle said.
The best thing about working with her daughter is, “I can see firsthand that she is succeeding and doing well,” Lawless said. “I am very thankful to Ben for giving her this opportunity to excel.”
Grandmother and granddaughter
Marlee Beck has been a welder at Allstate for the last nine months. Her grandmother, Mary Lee Johnston, has been a project manager’s assistant for the Maintenance Division for the past four years. She was drawn to the position because of the accommodating schedule.
“I retired, after 24 years, from Henderson Community College,” Johnston said. “I wanted something part-time and flexible since I am raising my grandson.”
The job puts her in proximity to her granddaughter.
“I work with a lot of family, but it’s nice to know that my Mamaw is always in the next building over,” Beck said.
Johnston said she’s excited to see Beck following in the family footsteps.
“My father was a welder,” Johnston said. “It is doubly exciting since she is our first female carrying on the torch.”
While getting the opportunity to work with family wasn’t the reason Beck joined Allstate’s team, she said it was a perk. However, the two don’t often cross paths because they work in different areas and because Marlee is still in school in the mornings. Working for the same company has allowed them to carpool from time to time.
“Any time my truck would break down or have work done, my Mamaw would pick me up from school and take me to work,” Beck said. “Also, over the summer she would pick me up from home to get me to work.”
Beck said her grandmother is supportive and encourages her to keep doing what she loves.
“She understands what I’m talking about in relation to what I’m welding,” Beck said. “So, anytime I’m trying to explain to someone how my day at work went, she’s the only one that would know what I meant if I were to say, ‘today I worked on a two-inch thick flange.’”
Johnston said, “It’s just nice to watch her grow and spread her wings. She is so dependable. It makes me proud.”
Mother and son
Glenda Moore followed her son, Jason Moore, into the tank business.
“I planned to retire early,” she said. “After 30 years working in a dental office, I spent two years at home. I wanted to return to work doing something different. Pittsburg Tank is the perfect job for me.”
The Moores work the same shift for the most part, though Jason is the plasma table operator in Pittsburg’s shop and Glenda is an administrative assistant in the Maintenance Division’s inspections department. Glenda has been with the company for three years while her son has worked here for 14 years.
“I get to tease her about who’s got seniority. And then she tells me, I don’t care about seniority because I’m your mama and I’ll smack you,” he said jokingly as his mom laughed.
The worst thing about working at the same company is his mom knows his boss, so if his boss gets mad at him, he can share that with Glenda Moore.
Working for the same company gives the Moores another common topic to discuss.
“It’s nice because if I decide to talk about my workday, she understands what I’m talking about,” said Jason Moore. “The same thing goes for her. Since I’ve been here longest, I know what all the parts are.”
Glenda Moore might have a question about a frost-proof vent and Jason Moore can show her what it looks like.
“We discuss shop projects. We do a lot of tank talk,” Glenda Moore said, adding that her husband just listens to her and their son talk and tries to learn a thing or two.
There are other benefits as well to working with family.
“I always get an invitation to the shop potlucks,” said Glenda Moore. “The guys out there know me as Jason’s mom.”
While they don’t go to lunch together, Glenda Moore said she sometimes sees her son at the E-Z Shop on “Haystack Fridays.”
Working at the same company has brought them closer together.
“We are related by blood and a part of the Pittsburg family,” said Glenda Moore. “We have that tank connection.”