After 44 Years, Brad Starkey Receives Fond Farewells
Richard Nixon was re-elected and Apollo 17’s Eugene Cernan was the last man to walk on the moon in the year 1972 when Brad Starkey began his career with Utility. He started as a production assembler in the Lining Department at the Clearfield refrigerated trailer plant in Utah. Recognized for his talent and having worked at several areas at the factory, Brad became General Foreman. In 1989, when Utility opened up its newest refrigerated trailer plant in Marion, Virginia, Brad moved himself and his family and relocated to work as the Plant Superintendent. By the year 2000, Brad became Plant Manager.
He led the plant through several challenges and market swings, oversaw four plant expansions and built up the workforce at Marion from 600 to 1,100 employees.
Brad was not only a thoughtful leader, but also a good motivator; he was active in building a sense of community for the entire Marion team. He put together employee golf tournaments, fishing trips, hunting trips and employee lunches. He made everyone feel welcome and part of the team. He was very generous, helping employees when able and he’d always
order extra hams and turkeys during the holidays to give to needy organizations.
Brad retired December 31, 2015, and one celebration simply wasn’t enough. There was a huge retirement dinner with plant management and a special steak meal at the plant that gave employees the opportunity to recognize and honor him. Finally, another large retirement dinner took place at Hungry Mother State Park with family, plant and corporate management including Jerry Sheets, Marion’s new Plant Manager, and members of the Bennett family in attendance.