Former employees gather for Crown plant anniversary

November 24: Some 150 current and former employees met last weekend at Crown’s beverage can plant at Olympia, Washington, USA, to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Constructed by Continental Can in 1959 to supply the Olympia Brewery and acquired by Crown in 1990, the plant now produces 4.5 million cans a day for customers such as Pepsi, Molson Coors and 7-Up, said plant manager Dan Joanis, speaking to reporter Rolf Boone from The Olympian newspaper.

Sharing hot dogs and looking at old pictures, former employees talked about the plant’s early days.

Husband and wife Darrell and Carole Holt started working at the plant in the 1960s. Darrell made the can bodies and Carole the ends. Carole recalled that the plant used to make cans only for Olympia beer, but by the time she retired in 1999, the plant produced about 500 labels. Today, said Joanis, the plant produces about 440 labels and its largest customer is 7-Up.

The Holts have three nephews who work at the plant. "This company has been real nice to our family," Darrell Holt said.

Also celebrating was Vaun ‘Lumpy’ Lundblad, one of the first to be hired at the plant in 1959, Vertis Love, a statistical process control supervisor who has worked for the company for 38 years, and former plant manager Troy Lovett.

The plant is set to increase productivity with seven-day-a-week schedule, operating 24 hours a day, in the new year, Joanis said.