Susan Gelhaus worked for years as a contract employee providing security for large companies, so she jumped at the opportunity eight years ago to work on Photocircuits n-house security team.
There were plenty of reasons to seek the job on its own merit, said Gehlhaus, including the high pay.
But her real motivation for wanting to work at Photocircuits came from a desire to somehow repay the company for all the kindness it had bestowed on her after the death of her husband, a production line employee who passed away from liver disease in 1994, Gehlhaus said.
I came here because it was a chance for me to return something to the people who were so good to me when my husband died, she said Wednesday afternoon, taking a break from making her rounds. It has been so great to get to know them and discover how wonderful the people here truly are.
Seeking more opportunity, Gehlhaus and her husband moved to Peachtree City more than a decade ago from upstate New York, introduced to the area by their son, who works for Delta.
The death of her husband was tough on Gehlhaus, already far removed from loved ones in New York state. With tears welling in her eyes Wednesday, she recalled how Photocircuits ended up being her surrogate family of wonderful, loving, caring people.
That sentiment has been echoed by many employees in the days since the company announced it was eliminating nearly 90 percent of the jobs at its Fayette County plants.
No one should know that better than Stacey Stanley, who has worked at Photocircuits for all but one of the 22 years the company has been in Peachtree City.
Photocircuits has always been a family company, Stanley said, even today with a dramatic decrease in personnel.
The trust they had for the employees is what made a difference and mattered from the beginning, and its what lasted, she said.
For example, Stanley said that in all the years shes worked there, Photocircuits has never required employees to punch electronic timecards, instead trusting them to fill in their hours by hand.
A 1982 graduate of Fayette County High, Stanley took a job as a line inspector in September the next year, when the company had just 180 employees working out of a lone building at 350 Dividend Drive.
She watched as Photocircuits eventually grew to nearly 2,000 employees working around the clock seven days a week on five different Peachtree City campuses.
But that expansion period peaked in 1998, said Stanley, and numbers have been on a steady decline since.
Stanley, who is married to a Fayetteville police officer and has two daughters, one a recent honor graduate of Georgia State University, said she is grateful to have worked for the company for so long.
I survived I dont know how many layoffs, too many to count, she said, crediting a strong Christian faith for seeing her through the tough times.
In spite of all he troubles, Stanley like Gehlhaus said working for Photocircuits has been a blessing for 21 years. Ive met a lot of good people and seen a lot of good things happen, she said.
And though shed like to think her length of service to the company will work in her favor once the final round of job cuts is made, Stanley has resigned herself to the possibility that after more than two decades, her relationship with Photocircuits may soon come to an end.
Im lucky Ive got a husband who works, so I can probably sit home awhile, she said. But Im not too proud to work at McDonalds or Wal-mart. My mama taught me that a paycheck is a paycheck, no matter where it comes from.
Gehlhaus, meanwhile, is hoping that her job as one of five security officers will be among those retained after the move to New York is complete.
I think they will need security for at least awhile, or at least Id like to think so, said Gehlhaus, then adding, But I wouldnt bet my life on it.