Charles Lowe has been able to enjoy some of the perks while being an employee at 3M.

The family-type atmosphere that circulates through the co-workers and being able to get in a good workout at the company’s fitness center are just a few of the bonuses that Lowe has relished at the company for more than two-thirds of his life.

A 42-year 3M employee this September, Lowe, 65, said one of his favorite highlights was giving his two young children a personal tour of their father’s workplace some three decades ago.

The public will also be able to experience the likes of 3M while strolling through several facilities that have been in existence for a half-century. Saturday will mark the 50-year anniversary of the now 816,000-square-foot facility, nearly as large as the Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom, and half the size of The Pentagon.

“I think it’s intriguing and educational for people because it allows them to know what products are made where,” said Lowe, a senior internal auditor for the last 18 years.

Shelia Summers, a 3M administrative assistant for the past four years, said she also likes the idea of having employees’ families exhibit one of three 3M plants in the Lone Star State (the other two are in Austin and Angleton).

“That doesn’t happen often, and I think it’s good because a lot of (outside) people don’t really know what we make at this plant,” she said.

The global science-based innovation company is known for its creations of reflective material, including license plates, fire suits and road and construction signs.

Lowe, a 1968 graduate of Brownwood High School, started in production for his first eight months before moving to the quality department for the next 23 years. After Lowe received his bachelor’s degree from Angelo State in the early 70s, he accepted his initial position at 3M and has never looked back.

He said one of the primary reasons for his stay at 3M is the positive treatment and open-door policy he’s received since day one.

“(Upper management) always has a high interest for its employees and always open to (our) input,” said Lowe, who added that communication among all its employees is essential.

“Not all places are like that, and I love what I’m doing,” said Lowe, whose job focuses on managing and directing daily activities to junior auditors assigned to assist supervising auditors during an engagement.

Jim Ruder, who retired from 3M in 2000 after 36 years of employment, attested to that, as it was one of the qualities that allowed him to enjoy his tenure at the establishment.

“What makes 3M great is the teamwork of the people who make up 3M,” said Ruder, who worked in the quality and safety departments before being promoted to environmental manager. “I really enjoyed all the opportunities that I had to learn about the different operational areas of the Brownwood Plant.”