Kern to retire from GP
A familiar face at Georgia-Pacific will soon be missing.
When Brenda Kern retires on Oct. 2, it will be the end of a career that has spanned the last 28 years. She has seen the name of the company change several times and has served with more than one general manager.
Kern began her career with Container Corporation of America in May of 1983 as a human resource secretary in the woodlands department. She began her work for Container, with a high school diploma and a few hours of college.
Things were different back then and her training came on the job, rather than with a college degree, Kern said.
“When I began working here, we were still using typewriters and carbon paper,” Kern said. “A college education was not a necessity back then, but I imagine that will be a requirement with my replacement.”
Kern will be missed by her coworkers. She began in the woodlands department, where she was secretary to the sales manager and technical director. She then moved to the main mill and has served as secretary to general managers, Gary Trimble, Cary Cran, Gary Miller and, her present boss, Jeff Joyce. She has seen the name of the company change through the years to become the Brewton mill for Georgia-Pacific.
“I love my job,” Kern said. “Every day is a surprise. I never know what will happen on any given day, I have gotten to work with all kinds of upper management people. I will miss it, but I am looking forward to seeing more of my grandchildren and maybe do a little travel.”
Kern was born and raised in New Iberia, La., and graduated from New Iberia Senior High School in 1967. She attended the University of Southern Louisiana which is now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Her father worked with Exxon Oil, and the family moved to Brewton from Louisiana in 1982. She was a young divorced mother with two children at the time and was also working in the oil field.
“When my job played out, I had to do something,” she said. “I thought about moving to Pensacola, but I decided to move here to Brewton.
“My parents were already living here at the time and I thought it would be a good move for me,” she said. “I worked at the Brewton Medical Center for a short time and then was hired at Container.
“I am so grateful for my many years here and all the people I have met along the way,” she said. “The mill has helped me to be able to give my children a good life.”
Kern has two children, several grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
“I plan on spending more time with them,” she said. “In fact, the day that I retire, they will be here and I will go home with my daughter and keep her two children over the weekend for them to attend some event.
“I am looking forward to visiting friends in Louisiana and just having some free time,” she said. “I love to read and I am involved in the community, working for Relay for Life, so I will stay busy.
“I am also involved with my church, St. Maurice Catholic Church, and I intend to continue to live here in Brewton,” she said. “I lost my mother recently and my father some time ago, but I have made this my home.”
Kern said she hopes to catch up on some traveling, that she has missed over the years.
“I might just take a cruise to Alaska with a side-trip into the interior of the state,” she said. “I will stay busy, but I will miss the people that I have worked with over the years. I will even miss some of the work.”