Growing Together

Dont’a Berry, lead process coach, trim, Dearborn Truck Plant, knows the sky is the limit when it comes to his journey with Ford.

“I hope that the company continues to grow and I grow with it,” he said. “Process coach is not my ceiling. The company is growing, we’re getting into the electric vehicle space and I think I’m in a good spot.”

Berry graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in political science. He started with Ford in May 2018 as a temporary full-time employee working on chassis one installing shocks.

The proud Flint native previously worked at General Motors, so he knew what to expect in the manufacturing environment. When he arrived, his intent was to become a supervisor.

Berry said he had a great team and knew he had a ton of support in his journey.

“I will say my team was really good, really friendly, really helpful,” he said. “Nobody treated me differently because I was new. Everyone was really focused on the team.”

Berry kept an eye on opportunities within the company. As soon as a process coach position opened up, he applied.

“I reached out to David (DJ) Freeman who was a process coach at the time as well as Brian Watkins who was a lead process coach at the time,” he said. “I asked them how the process worked and for some intel to get prepared to apply for the position.”

When it comes to the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the role, Berry said it comes down to managing people.

“You have to know your people and who can help cover when people aren’t here,” he said. “Getting other people to train on the jobs is critical.

“The most rewarding part is also the people. When people understand and respect you, it means everything to me. I come in, give my team a high five, chat with them, get to know them. I’m a people person and it’s important for me to get to know them beyond a work relationship.”

Berry applauds Ford for hiring and promoting from within. He knows the experience employees have is priceless.

“It’s really a great thing that Ford offers the ability for folks to come from the line and become management because we do have a lot of talent on the floor,” he said. “The fact that we offer that is a positive and I think the right move. You can do it better when you’ve done it. The hurdles, the mindset of the people, you know how to get them to work together.”

Berry said it is incredible to look back and see how far he’s come. He encourages employees who are interested in moving through the ranks to connect with colleagues and mentors as he did.

“It’s been an awesome journey and it’s not over yet,” he said.

Growing Together

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