Like Father, Like Son: Strengthening Bonds and Careers at the BASF ECMS Seneca site

When Eddie Gambrell first came to work as a contractor at BASF ECMS in Seneca, he considered the job temporary. He expected his  role to serve as a bridge until he could return to fire ecology work with the federal government.

For nearly 20 years, he held roles with agencies such as the US Forest and National Parks Services.

In 2016, Gambrell returned to the Upstate with his family after a stint with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in California. Although he was new to precious metals recycling, he quickly advanced through the ranks. In 2018, he was promoted to B Shift Supervisor, and in 2023, he was promoted to Operations Coordinator. The father of three attributes his advancement to his hard work and dedication.

“Most of my employees are younger. I’ve tried to teach them, just like my children: ‘Do your best every day. Hard work and dedication will pay off in the long run,’” Gambrell said.

When the time came for his youngest son, Josh, to begin his job search, the younger Gambrell was inspired by his father’s advancement and work-life balance. After graduating from The Citadel with a criminal justice degree in 2021, he returned home, looking for a well-paying opportunity. He knew BASF ECMS was one of “the best employers around” and, despite lacking manufacturing experience, decided to apply, much to his father’s surprise. Having a college degree, but being new to manufacturing, Gambrell joined the inaugural apprenticeship program cohort.

“Josh was the perfect fit for our apprenticeship program,” said Gene Durrance, Apprenticeship Coordinator/Continuous Improvement Engineer. “Being a Citadel graduate, we knew he would bring discipline and a strong work ethic to our site. He just needed on-the-job training to ensure a smooth transition into the manufacturing environment.”

Gambrell  not only represents a non-traditional hire, but also served in active military duty while employed by BASF ECMS. He said he was upfront about his deployment throughout his onboarding process, which provided plenty of time for his leaders to make arrangements while he was deployed to Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE.

“I’m thankful for their flexibility. They didn’t just hold my job – I was also paid while being deployed, which proves the company’s commitment to veterans,” he said.

Although they work on separate teams, they do overlap as volunteers for the site’s Emergency Response Team.  The elder Gambrell serves as a lieutenant,  drawing upon his fire and rescue experience , while the younger utilizes his military background to contribute to the team.

“I know I can go to him or shoot him an email to answer questions about things that he may have experience with. Having Dad here made the transition so much easier,” Josh said.

When this father and son duo is not at the plant, they enjoy spending time outdoors together, fishing, hunting, and following Clemson and Atlanta Braves baseball. Their shared interests strengthen their bond, both at work and at home.

“I’m glad he’s here. I told him if you apply yourself and work hard, you can move up. There is unlimited opportunity for advancement here. I’m proof of that. He’s been here two and a half years and he’s a tech lead now, so he’s seeing that mobility. I think BASF ECMS is a great company with great benefits. I enjoy my work and it’s nice to see one of my children at work,” the elder Gambrell said.

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