Narrows, Virginia, is a small town located in southwest Virginia in Giles County with a population of approximately 2,000 people. The New River flows through this town crossing the Appalachian Mountains.
Narrows is part of the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford area which is one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. The region has been ranked on multiple occasions within the top five areas to raise children considering education, safety and economic development.
The color of the seasons could not be more vibrant around this area. From the bright greens in the Spring, through the orange and red leaves in Autumn, to the white scenery that brings the snow fall during the Winter.
A river, mountains and several hiking trails are also neighboring scenery to the world largest cellulose derivatives plant Celanese started acetate flake and tow operations on Christmas Day in 1939, and since then has supported the growth of not only of Celanese, but also of Giles County and the many towns surrounding the site. The Celanese plant in Narrows has been part of the life of many generations.
Celanese currently employs more than 1,000 people at the Narrows facility including employees and contractors.
The first time I came to visit the Celanese plant was in 2008. Someone asked me back then if I would be willing to relocate to Virginia. After seeing the landscape described before, my answer at that point was: “I may consider it 30 years from now when I get closer to retirement.”
I am living proof that we need to watch what we say because three years later I accepted a position in Narrows and moved from Dallas – yes, way before my retirement time! The glamour of a big city, shopping centers, restaurants, traffic all changed for the outdoor, country living and a lot of peace of mind. That was a decision I will never regret. I have spent the best years of my life in this area.
It was late 2013 when I was asked to form a committee to help organize the festivities for Celanese’s 75th Anniversary in Narrows. We wanted this to the celebration of the region and to dedicate the event to the Celanese employees, to their families, and to the community. We wanted to celebrate with contractors who support the site, and of course, the large numbers of retirees who for years gave everything for Celanese.
On September 20, Celanese opened its gates of the Narrows facility to all the people that have made 75 years possible, and yes, we celebrated! We had close to 2,000 people on our big family fun day, including local dignitaries from the State of Virginia, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Congress and Celanese executives.
I would like to thank Melissa, Regina, Stan, Bob, Johnny, Kate, Tia, Steve, Richard, Rene, Judy, Regina, Stephanie and Tim for the months dedicated to make this celebration possible and for getting the “wow” out of our guests; you all made the difference.
I look forward to the next 75 years fulfilling one of the pillars of our vision: “The Celanese Narrows plant will create sustainable wealth for our stakeholders, employees and community for generations to come.”