LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Ford Motor Company began making Model T’s in its Louisville plant in 1913. Henry Ford himself had just formed the company 10 years earlier. Gas, if you believe what you read on the Internet, was just a few pennies per gallon, not a few dollars per gallon as it is now.
Now, 100 years later, the company and its 8,500 Louisville-area workers were recognized February 22nd as “a significant part of the economic, social, and cultural heritage of Kentucky.”
In a ceremony at the Kentucky Exposition Center during the annual Carl Casper Auto Show, several elected officials presented Louisville Assembly Plant Manager John Savona and Kentucky Truck Plant Manager Joe Bobnar with resolutions that recognized the company’s 100th anniversary in Louisville, and congratulated Ford for its long history.
“Over the years, the Commonwealth has been proud to partner with Ford Motor Company, helping it grow into one of the most successful corporate citizens in Louisville,” said Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson. “We are thrilled to celebrate this important milestone in the company’s history and we wish Ford and all its employees another 100 years of success.”
Abramson went on to declare the day “Ford Motor Company Day.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer spoke of shared history. “Ford’s history and Louisville’s history are deeply connected. The recent investments by Ford in the two local plants, with the assistance of local tax dollars, ensure that there will be an even brighter 100 years ahead.”
The mayor then declared the city “Ford Country USA” for the day.
Louisville Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch (D-13) had a much deeper connection to Ford. “My personal story is that Ford UAW 862 provided my basic needs growing up since my dad, Jim Aubrey, was employed by both Ford and UAW for 46 of those 100 years.”
The Councilwoman’s father, James Aubrey, began working at with Ford in 1948 at the age of 18. He rose to the office of financial secretary for local 862. “I am very proud to be a primary sponsor in recognizing this historic occasion.”
Kentucky Truck Plant Manager Joe Bobnar offered his thanks. “I’ve had the opportunities to live and work in many communities with Ford and I’ll say that the partnership here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the city of Louisville is unparalleled. The ability to work together with public and private partnership, our ability to work with the Union, to succeed and become a world class manufacturer is a significant accomplishment. On behalf of the entire team, including my 4,000 talented people at the Kentucky Truck Plant, I just want to say thanks.”
LAP Plant Manager John Savona echoed that sentiment. “On behalf of Ford, our local dealerships and the employees of the Louisville Assembly Plant, I'd like to thank Louisville City Council, the Kentucky House and Senate legislature, Congressman Yarmuth, Lt. Governor Abramson and Governor Beshear for presenting us with this huge honor.” said Savona. “I would like to also thank my UAW partners. Without their help we would not be celebrating 100 years of manufacturing in Louisville.”