Engineering Supervisor Ed Lustenader is bidding farewell to a place he’s called home for more than two decades, as he heads into retirement.
Lustenader moved to Michigan in 1985 as a contract engineer for General Electric. He was then assigned to a factory automation project for Ford Rawsonville blower motors.
After the project ended in December 1986, Lustenader found a position as an engineer at Ford’s Ypsilanti plant designing, building, and installing new equipment to manufacture starter motors.
His career path continued as a product development engineer with the starter team working on cost improvements. Then in 1994 he was promoted to superintendent of Throttle Body Machining, which was
located at the north end of the plant where MAP sequencing is currently stationed. Lustenader managed the department for five years before moving to D4 Fuel Injectors as the manufacturing engineering supervisor.
Lustenader has held his current position as engineering supervisor for starter motors and carbon canisters for 13 years.
“I will miss the relationships I’ve made with so many people at Ford and with our suppliers. I have crossed paths with many people through my 27 years with Ford/Visteon,” said Lustenader. “Like a lot of people who have been at Ford for a long time, we’ve seen the company change directions over the years,” he said.
Although change is inevitable, Lustenader wishes some things could remain the same.
“It’s sad to see jobs like machining, welding and molding leave Ford only to be given to our suppliers, either domestic or overseas,” he said.
Around the time he started his career, Lustenader remembers companies looking to move their high labor work to lower wage countries like Mexico. He says it has taken almost 30 years for companies to realize that labor costs are only a portion of the total cost of a product.
“Some of the leaders are starting to move manufacturing back to the United States, and I would hope that Ford would join that group soon,” he said.
While memories can certainly last a lifetime, Lustenader is ready to turn the page and begin a new chapter is his life.
“My original plan was to retire when I turned 55, but certain work events derailed that,” he said.
Even though Lustenader is leaving Ford, he’s offering a bit of advice for those who are continuing their journey with the company.
“Work hard, work smart, enjoy what you do, and save for your retirement, because nobody else is going to,” he said.
With more time soon to be on his hands, Lustenader is planning on setting aside time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. He is hoping to catch up on his golf swing, fish and brew a few beers.