• September 17, 2019

Plastics company gives people a second chance - Odessa American: News

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Plastics company gives people a second chance

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Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 3:17 pm

People from all walks of life were given a chance to find work for themselves and get a second chance at a job fair for Orrex Plastics in Odessa on Friday.

Chief Operating Officer Kyle Van Syoc said the plant has about 150 employees and was established in 1997. Van Syoc said there were quite a few positions available. 

“We are a plastics company. We make our plastic pellets that go into end-users ranging from motor oil to food packaging and anywhere in between,” Van Syoc said. “We’re what’s called a toll compounder, which means we don’t make anything that’s our products. We’re making stuff for big chemical companies, so we make their product, but it’s a process they don’t like to do so they send it to us. We’re really good at what we do. They send it to us to do it for them.”

Van Syoc, who has worked for Orrex for six years, said the company doesn’t mind if people have misdemeanor or felony convictions in their background.

“I believe in Jesus and the second chances He’s given me. We like to try to do the same as a company,” Van Syoc said. “… We’re happy to give people a chance if they need it.”

The labor market in Odessa and the rest of the Permian Basin is particularly tight right now. The plant is located in south Odessa in an industrial part of the city.

“It’s intense,” Van Syoc said. “That’s part of why we’re doing this today, too. As you found getting out here, people don’t just happen upon us. We kind of needed to do something to get the word out that we’re here. We like to think that we’re a family place to work. (We) try to take good care of our employees and try to promote that.”

Pay starts at $16 per hour and goes from there, depending on experience and different factors, he said.

“We’ll also teach what you need to do. You’re not going to get a lot of people who have done this before, particularly in West Texas. It’s pretty unique. We’re also real good at training up people to do what needs to be done,” Van Syoc said.

Jermone Grimes, plant tech lead, has worked for Orrex for almost three years.

“I had a cousin that worked here. I had gotten in trouble, got out of prison, came here looking for a job and they gave me a second opportunity. I’ve worked my way up to be one the lead guys at this facility, at this plant, and it’s just been a blessing,” Grimes said.

Grimes said he was incarcerated for drug possession when he was young and served 14 to 15 years. He added that he has always been a people person so finding a job out of prison was difficult to a degree, but Orrex treated him like family.  

“And I latched on. I just started going and once I’m going, I’m going, and it was difficult, but Orrex made it very adjustable for me. It’s just a blessing for me,” Grimes said.

Grimes praised his boss who trained him and said he enjoys helping and motivating others to do the right thing in their lives.

Human Resources Director Anthony Montez organized the job fair.

“We’re a second chance company. We allow people to come out apply (who have) kind of had a tough break in life. We offer a good competitive pay. Entry level starts out at $16. We’ll have quite a bit of positions available to offer. We just try to give back to the community and give guys a chance,” Montez said. 

“It’s a good return in the end because you’re helping them and they’re helping you and they don’t take it for granted. They show up on time. They do what they’re supposed to do and it works out for both of us,” Montez added.

He said he has been with Orrex for 11 years, starting off as a janitor.

“I love it. This is what I do. This is why I wake up in the morning, for these guys. It’s something worth waking up to every morning and just to see their face and (hear) their stories, they’re awesome. It’s like a family. We have a softball team; we have a little basketball tournaments here and there; we do a lot of stuff together as a family,” Montez said.

He added that there was no target amount of people the company was hoping to hire Friday, but he had at least 30 people turn out by mid-morning.

“It’s already met the expectations that I wanted, but like I said, it gives me more options to look at,” Montez said.

He added that more opportunities for employment are coming soon as Orrex is adding on to its administration building and REXtac, its sister company.

Temple Anderson, plant technician, has worked at Orrex for four months. Anderson has served time for aggravated robbery.

“… I was at the halfway house when Mr. Anthony Montez came through with a presentation referencing the company,” Anderson said. “The presentation was so good, I filled out an application right there on the spot, as well as several others. By the grace of God, I was hired and it’s been a blessed opportunity ever since.”

Anderson said he believes there are other companies willing to give ex-felons a second chance, but there may not be many.

“… This particular company, they’re real good about extending a hand to give you a second chance at life. They’re real good about working with you for those that are in that position because usually when you come out you have certain kind of stipulations … They’re willing to try to manage and work around that. That’s where you have to kind of consider there aren’t many companies that are willing to do that, that go the extra mile for you to work with you and your stipulations, but Orrex, they are the exception.

Anderson said working for Orrex has been a great experience.

“I wasn’t a bad kid. Sometimes you do things. That was over 20 years ago. Sometimes you can do things in your adolescence that kind of have an effect on you growing up. I always had a good work ethic. Just coming out here and being able to get that work experience and get myself a chance to be productive has been real good for me,” he added. 

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