Driving Dynamics Lab (DDL) East opened in January and was the first office building completed as part of the Dearborn Campus Transformation. It features an open collaborative design meant to enhance the workplace experience for employees.
The new Driving Dynamics Lab is part of Ford's 10-year transformation of its more than 60-year-old Dearborn facilities.
While new, the building demonstrates an extensive reuse of materials, including reclaimed wood from our harvested campus trees used in the design decor, as well as windows and doors from the former passenger terminal and original wind tunnel respectively.
Employees who moved into the Driving Dynamics Lab recently shared their feedback about the new space.
“The open office has increased the communication among team members and made it easier for us to function as a coherent team,” said Dan Clatterbuck, body-on-frame road loads supervisor. “The many ad-hoc conversations that happen throughout the day provide a valuable means to absorb knowledge from other’s experiences.
“Additionally, I’ve found it very convenient to have some of our counterparts in Vehicle Dynamics and NVH so close,” he added. “It has encouraged cross-functional learning, and the view isn’t too bad either.”
Shawn Kingsley, an engineer who formerly resided at Wind Tunnel 2, said being greeted by “Sharky,” original wind tunnel blades, made him feel right at home.
“The low walls, modular workspace and elevating desks make for a sense of unity between the teams,” he said, “and it provides an awesome atmosphere where we can get exposure to other operations and open doors for collaboration and cross-functional projects.”
Jill Morris, an FCG in body-on-frame road loads said the move into DDL East has been a great experience.
“The open collaboration areas are really convenient for quick meetings and phone calls,” she said. “Having the entire road loads group all in one building, including strain gage lab, calibration lab and garage has helped with efficiency of our testing.
“I like that I am able to go talk to anyone in the group or look at test vehicles in the garage area at any time,” she added. “Now I don’t have to worry about the time it takes to travel to different buildings to get parts or to look at test vehicles.”
Nick Cotta, who works in the strain gage lab at DDL East, said the building has proven to be an excellent lab environment.
“Our work is technically easier, more efficient and of higher quality in a clean and stable environment,” he said. “Having a separate room for our heavier equipment with easy access feels downright luxurious and it also is much easier for us to interface with the RL engineering team."
He said his team enjoys the look and feel of the space itself.
“I like to describe it as ‘radically pleasant,’ meaning the space exudes a bright and cheery feel,” Cotta said. “The natural light, large windows and clean lines make bench work feel much more natural. Another of our technicians described the environment as ‘homey’ and ‘almost like working in a nice hotel’ and that this takes the ‘work out of work’ which is a sentiment we all agree with.”