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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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!”
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.
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
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.