‘Her Dedication to Ford Is Inspiring’: Janet Wynn Celebrates 60th Anniversary with the Company, Reflects on Its Evolution

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For six decades, executive administrative assistant Janet Wynn has been on top of it. Whatever it is, she makes sure it gets done. So to mark her 60th anniversary with the company earlier this month, Wynn’s colleagues and friends organized a special celebration lunch complete with flowers and a custom cake topped with a vintage typewriter, as well as a hand-signed note from both Executive Chair Bill Ford and President and CEO Jim Farley.

“There have been times when you rack your brain and you just can’t think of something – and Janet can rattle off the answers in a minute,” said Marion Hein, executive assistant for Pete Reyes, executive director, vehicle architecture and engineering, who led the event planning. “She’s a wealth of knowledge. I can honestly say she is always on top of it. She remembers everything.”

With fellow teammates, including other administrative assistants and leadership on hand to mark her milestone, Wynn was presented with a diamond pin and other gifts. “It was a nice way to celebrate the day,” said Wynn, who is executive assistant to Mike Dugan, director, vehicle engineering. “I was really surprised by it.”

Dugan was also in attendance at the lunch, as was Wynn’s previous director, who is retired. Wynn’s sister, Beverly Wynn, who retired in December after her own career of nearly 60 years as an administrative assistant with the company, was instrumental in planning the get-together.

“That’s how much she means to people,” said Bruce Howell, who works with the core drive team in vehicle engineering, and has known Wynn for more than 20 years. “She’s just a very dependable, hard worker. You always know she’s going to be there and she’s going to get the job done. She’s very methodical. She’s just a really great lady and her dedication to Ford is inspiring.”

Following up on a suggestion by her father, who worked with her uncle as a draftsman at the Rouge complex, Wynn joined the typing pool in product development at Ford in April 1962. From there, typewriters gave way to computers, then laptops, mobile phones, online meetings and, finally, remote work.

“It’s been nice to see how things developed through the years and we kept improving,” said Wynn, noting modern tools such as WebEx. “We see the changes in the vehicles, but it’s nice to see the changes in communications and how we’ve improved through the years.”

Howell, who used to sit near Wynn in the office, said she is a selfless team player who can always be counted on. “Whenever you ask Janet something, she’s going to do whatever she can to help out,” he said. “No one is unimportant, no matter who you are.”

Scott Howell, head of the vehicle engineering global sign-off process, recalls how Wynn’s meticulous recordkeeping skills and meeting planning helped him get established when he joined the company in 2015. “She knew what was going on around the area and was a great source of information for me when I was starting out,” he said. “And that hasn’t changed.”

Wynn said she has grown more confident in her skills over the years and enjoys the challenge of adapting and learning new skills, recalling the transition to computers in the 1970s and ’80s. “I’ve always liked the idea of learning new things,” she said.

Outside of the office, Wynn remembers a club comprised of secretaries from various departments. They would take trips to nearby cities and paid visits to the 12th floor of World Headquarters where Ford executives worked. There was also bocce ball with teammates, and a memorable drive event at the company’s Dearborn proving grounds that included a ride-along with a race car driver on the track. “That was so much fun,” she said. “I really enjoyed that.”

Wynn’s current responsibilities are meeting planning and coordinating meetings, including those with other regions, as well as personnel matters.

“Janet helps run the machine of how we communicate globally and tackle projects,” said Dugan. “She is always the one texting and instant messaging us to get ahold of one another. It doesn’t take Janet long to master a new tool, and her ability to evolve to meet the needs of the business has made her vital to our team.”

With the shift to remote work in the past couple of years, Wynn is as reliable as ever.

“There’s been no lag or change, she’s always at her desk,” said Bruce Howell. “She’s not one to have the TV on or to go run errands during the workday. She’s a dedicated employee and that’s why she’s been here so long.”

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