Seventy-Five Years of People Making the Difference

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.”

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About the author


Mauricio Valle is the Narrows Plant Controller. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Denis, and his two children, Santiago and Sophia. And the long-living city boy is still trying to find the beauty of hiking.

There are 13 comments. Add yours.

  1. Diana Garibay says:

    I can’t agree with you more, I personally witness the commitment and passion Narrows employees have. It feels like a family that embraces you and is always willing to improve and make things better, Amazing! We all celebrate and recognized the generations that make this company as successful as it is today. Happy 75 Narrows! many more to come.

  2. Margie Dolch says:

    Happy 75th anniversary Narrows! Originally from Maryland, I found my way here to Texas…but I do miss the fall colors. You never know where life will take you, but I’m glad you seized the opportunity when it came and that Narrows became your new home. It’s great to see a company and the community come together and celebrate a milestone like this.

  3. Harish Harsha says:

    Congratulations, Narrows. Diamond Jubilee is not something at would be associated with Chemical plants.
    A proud moment to celebrate.

  4. Linda Blais says:

    Happy 75th Anniversary to Narrows and thanks for the great blog Mauricio. I have only been to Narrows once but it impressed me with nice employees not to mention the area is just beautiful. I bet Fall is amazing. Congrats on the anniversary celebration and to many more years going forward.

  5. Adriano says:

    I am still new at Celanese family, only 6 years, but I’d like to say that I felt so proud to know this Celanese history.

  6. Regina T. says:

    Great blog Mauricio. The day was most enjoyable. There were smiles on everyone’s faces both young and old. Pride within our hearts especially mine! I was able to walk around with my father by my side whom is a retiree that had 36 years at this beautiful plant. Thank you and the team for making this day happen and thanks to everyone both past and present for without the employees none of this would be possible! Cheers to many more years……….

  7. Bill Wang says:

    Excellent blog Mauricio. Very happy for you. Congrats to Narrows site! May the people at Celco continue to make the difference and may the family tradition continues for years to come.

  8. Laura Knowles says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I, too, relocated from a bustling city and love it in Giles County.
    I want to thank you and your committee for making the 75th Anniversary such a memorable event!

  9. Greg Vale says:


    Great blog and congratulations to the fine folks at Celco. I spent my first three years at Celanese as the plant controller in Narrows and have fond memories.

    All the best!!!

  10. Javier Martinez Gallardo says:

    happy 75th anniversary to Narrows Plant ! Good blog Mauricio.
    One remarkable comment is hospitality and support plant personnel who are always willing to share the knowledge gained in those 75 years
    Congratulations and go for another 75 years !

  11. Barbara M Skidmore says:

    Most of my family, Skidmore, worked at this facility. In fact, Edward Skidmore of Narrows, helped relocated his Mother and children from Richwood, WV to Narrows, to work there, during the early 1940’s.

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