The coronavirus pandemic led Lexie Ellington to the role she has today: human resources generalist for Teknor Apex Co. Ellington graduated in December 2021 with a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Memphis.
"If I would not have been led to find an essential job, my passion for manufacturing and the people who work in manufacturing would have never flourished. It was not easy to be in undergrad during the pandemic, but I am grateful for the decisions it helped me make," she said.
Ellington worked in PVC injection molding as an undergrad; she had accepted a customer service position after being furloughed from a retail job due to the pandemic.
"I did not have a passion for plastics manufacturing at the time, but after learning about the product lines and the manufacturing process, I changed my career path from clinical psychology — what I was originally attending school for — to manufacturing human resources. This position was taken in an attempt to pay my bills during the pandemic but completely changed my career trajectory," she said.
Ellington was the interim HR manager for four months at a previous organization, "with little experience" one month after obtaining her undergraduate degree. "This drove me to develop, learn and grow in decision-making, communication and compliance," she said.
In her role with the materials firm in Brownsville, Tenn., Ellington works with recruiting, onboarding, implementing policy, training, performance management and much more. She said her current challenges are finding skilled employees to fill open positions and combating retention issues.
Ellington obtained her Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional certification in May, and she is working on her MBA from Bethel University.
"The accomplishment that many do not know about is that I have been financially independent since I was 17 years old. I paid for my post-secondary education while working full time and paying bills, and I still graduated summa cum laude. This led me to grow my skill set and launch my career earlier than most, so that I could purchase a home by myself at a young age," Ellington said. "My greatest achievement would either be becoming a first-generation college graduate or purchasing my first home on my own at 21 years old."