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Willie Fulton

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 The Milestone of All Milestones: Willie Fulton Celebrates 60 Year Anniversary with Ford Motor Company

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Forty years is considered a lifetime at a company. Many retire achieving the forty year milestone and few can imagine dedicating fifty or even sixty years of their life to working at one company.

Dearborn Stamping Plant is home to Willie Fulton, who is one of those extraordinary people. Willie is celebrating his 60th anniversary with Ford Motor Company on July 15th. Willie holds the highest active seniority amongst hourly and salaried people within the United States.

“I’m still shaking, I can’t believe it,” Willie said. “Ford Motor Company is the best company to work for because it’s a family company. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have stayed for this long.”

Willie Fulton started with Ford in 1953 at the Dearborn Foundry and Michigan Casting; he then transferred to Dearborn Stamping Plant in 1982.  He started out as a machine operator making $1.58 an hour at Dearborn Foundry, which was considered to be high pay at the time. Willie now works on the 242-243 line at Dearborn Stamping Plant that produces the Rear Crew Doors for the
F-150. He plays a key role on the team, as he's responsible for inspecting the doors for defects before they are prepared for shipment to Kansas City Assembly Plant.

During his 60 years of service he has seen the dramatic historical transition within the industry from entirely manpowered lines to the robotic automation of the production lines.  “I’ve seen a lot of changes in this Company. When I came to work there was no automation, it was all muscle. Now there are a lot of machines.”

Willie has worked on several of the Ford products including the Thunderbird, station wagon, tractor, Escort, Mustang, Focus and the F-150. His favorite current product is the F-150. “I have a MKZ, but I like the F-150 truck. It’s the #1 truck. Ford also has some good cars,” he said. Willie’s first Ford was a Ford Fairlane. “I wish I still had it, it would’ve been an antique!”

As a highly revered and inspirational member of Dearborn Stamping Plant, Willie speaks to all new employees during their orientation. He believes in training the employees to do the job right to promote safety, improve quality, and drive efficiency.

“It’s important to train the employees to do the job right and not to it quickly to improve quality. Safety is #1. Gloves, ear plugs, Kevlar sleeves and no gym shoes. The best way to pick up parts is to have a good grip. You must come to work on time and have good performance too. If you do a good job and your performance is good, you can bid on a job.”

Willie has no plans to retire because he still feels good. He attributes his good physical health to his routine of keeping motivated and moving.  “If I retire, I’ll have to hold another job or get involved with the kids at my church,”  Willie said.  

Willie has seven children, twelve grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.

 
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7/1/2013 11:00 AM