At just about every department meeting I’ve attended, someone is celebrating an anniversary. Since we meet about once a month or per quarter, there are often quite a few names. Occasionally, someone is celebrating a rather large number of years compared to the rest. Last month, that someone was me. Even though I knew my name was going to be up there on the big projector screen, I was still surprised to see my name there next to the phrase “20 years.” I almost thought to myself, ‘wow, who is THAT guy?’ before I realized it was me.
Ford has certainly gone through a lot of changes in the last twenty years. We are a much smaller company than we used to be, but we have managed quite a turn around without going into bankruptcy, and without taking so-called bail out loans, while at the same time producing higher quality, higher fuel efficiency products laden with high technology. We have lost quite a few people, and at one time, quite a lot of experience. One particular day some years back, we held a mass retirement party, and one of my buddies lamented to be losing so many people, so much talent, all at the same time. Some labelled those of us who stayed as ‘being brave for going down with the ship’, but I chose to think of us as the ones who could be part of the comeback team that would save the company. I’m certainly glad I turned out to be right! Thank you, Ford Motor Company!
I always think of my dad during August. Each year, he calls me up to reminisce about our trip to Michigan in 1990. I recall leaving San Antonio one morning with my car loaded so much that it was riding on the bump stops, and mom was crying in the driveway. As luck would have it, my water pump died by the time we got to Waco, TX, but Dad and I repaired it in the parking lot and kept going. When we got to Michigan, I began to have starter motor trouble. The day before I started my first day on the job, the solenoid on the motor quit for good. Fortunately, I had made contact with another new employee who gave me a ride to work. But while I was at work, my dad walked all the way down the access road and across the interstate to the nearest auto parts store, bought a new solenoid, walked all the way back, and repaired my car. I’ve never measured the distance accurately, but I think it’s at least 2-3 miles each way, plus navigating a four lane bridge with no sidewalk. Thanks, Dad!
The other evening, I was talking with a colleague in the parking lot, trying to remember how many Ford vehicles my family and friends purchased since I’ve been at Ford. Between my immediate family, my extended family, and my friends, I come up with 27 vehicles, more than one for each year of my employment. In fact, I just ‘sold’ one more last week, a brand new red 2010 Taurus SHO to Debbie. Thank you, friends and family!
So I’ll leave you with that thought, one of gratitude for my dad, my family, my friends, and the company where I work. It has been one heck of a ride, and I still want to keep driving.