Tom Allen Team Celebration – members of Tom’s crew celebrated his 50 years of service during their morning start-up meeting on June 4, 2024.

ROXANA - On June 4, 2024, Pipefitter Tom Allen celebrated 50 years at the Wood River Refinery.

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Allen is known by his co-workers as a genuine person and hard worker who has a love for overtime. His story at the refinery almost didn't happen with rules in the past decades prohibiting more than one family member from working in the refinery at the same time.

Tom Allen always knew he wanted to work for the Wood River Refinery. At 17, right out of high school, he joined the Navy. After completing his first four years of service, he stopped by the refinery to see about getting a job. However, his father, a Teamster, was still an employee and rules still prohibited more than one family member from working at the site. So Tommy re-enlisted in the Navy. The next two years took him to the South Pacific, where he served on a Destroyer as part of the Vietnam War.

Upon returning from his assignment, Allen again visited the refinery's Human Resources Hiring Lead to see about work. He had indicated if nothing was available, he would be content serving a career in the military for 30 years. However, the second time was the charm. Allen’s father had just retired and the refinery had openings for operators. In his early career, he worked in several different jobs at the refinery but settled in as a Pipefitter after two years and has been working in that role for the last 48 years.

In describing his favorite aspects of working at Wood River, Allen said it is everything. “I just have always liked it. I have never gotten up in the morning and said ‘I wish I didn’t have to go to work.’ Back in my heyday, I was number one on overtime. They call me overtime hog. I would be out here day and night and it didn’t matter.”

Tom Allen 1988 and today at Texas Heat Exchangers – Tom Allen stands in front of the Heat Exchangers he helped to install in 1988 and again days before celebrating his 50th Service Anniversary of working at the refinery.

Allen has worked on many projects throughout the refinery. One of his favorites was the installation of the Texas heat exchangers on one of the refinery’s catalytic reformers. He remembers helping to place those exchangers and they are still a key part of refinery operations today.

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Allen’s advice to new employees who start at Wood River is to “buy all the stock you can get in the company.” An employee told Allen early in his career that he wouldn’t work for a company if he didn’t want to buy their stock. Allen likes to pass along that message even today.

When not at work, Allen has been passionate over the years about roller skating throughout Illinois and the St. Louis region, including participating on speed and competing teams. He attributes his skating commitment to keeping him fit and healthy.

“I look back on my life and it is pretty much a journey which has always turned in the right place,” Allen said. “Between my work here and skating, my life has been pretty full.”

Since 2014, the Wood River Refinery has honored three employees who celebrated 50 years of working at the facility.

“It is common to see employees hit 35 to 40 years of service at our facility, but it is very special to see those who have such a passion for their career hit five decades in one work location,” said Melissa Erker, spokesperson for the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery.

As for retirement, Allen is contemplating that later this year. He said he enjoyed traveling the world, like Singapore and Hong Kong, while in the service 50 years prior. He says he plans to enjoy his friends and life locally every day and to join the McDonald's breakfast club.

About Wood River Refinery

Located in Roxana, Illinois, and jointly owned by Phillips 66 and Cenovus Energy through the WRB Refining partnership, Wood River Refinery is operated by Phillips 66. Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) manufactures, transports, and markets products that drive the global economy. The diversified energy company’s portfolio includes Midstream, Chemicals, Refining, and Marketing and Specialties businesses.

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