FLAT ROCK, Mich. - Cheers and applause accompanied the mighty roar of the 2014 Mustang GT convertible as its driver throttled the V8 engine.
“Come on, let it rip,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Ford Global Product Development.
Ed Salna, senior-most employee at Flat Rock Assembly Plant (FRAP), revved the engine louder and louder as the Ford Motor Co. executive urged him on.
“That was just great,” Salna said, giving Nair a hearty handshake with a smile. “This is what it’s all about.”
Thanks to Salna’s long-running career at FRAP, he was offered an opportunity to drive the 1 millionth Mustang produced by the plant off the line while Nair sat in the passenger seat.
For Salna, the 1 millionth Mustang event marks more than 1 million units of a certain product; it marks a milestone for what he calls, “The greatest team of people a company could ask for.”
“I’ll tell you one thing,” started Salna, “That was incredible. I’ve been here for 27 years and when you’ve worked with the same people for that long, it’s amazing to share an experience like this. It’s like sharing it with your family. They are my family.”
Salna’s commitment spans further than just his 27 years, however, he’s a third-generation Ford employee.
“My grandfather worked at the Rouge in Dearborn for more than 40 years and then my father worked for Ford for more than 30 years,” he said. “And believe it or not, my son works for the company, too, at Louisville Assembly Plant. That’s four generations and that’s remarkable to me.”
Salna started at the Flat Rock facility in 1986 as a superintendent and has sported several titles since, including his most recent position as the material planning and logistics manager.
“I’m not going to lie, it was a little emotional,” Salna said, who even invited his wife along for the event. “It’s a great car, the best car, built by my friends and family. A million down and millions and millions to go.”