Lonnie Crooms celebrated 50 years of service with Ford Motor Company in August, spending most of his time at Ford with Livonia Transmission Plant. Lonnie started his career as an inspector and spent most of his time in the quality division, but he has moved around to different divisions throughout his tenure. “I’ve done almost every job in this facility at this point,” Crooms said.
Nowadays Crooms is an FPS Coordinator and serves as the photographer and historian of Livonia Transmission Plant. But he hired in during the middle of Nixon's Administration in 1972, a time when most American families made around $11,120 according to the census data.
Croom’s was just coming out of high school in the early 70’s. His mother hoped he would go to college, but his father found him a job at Ford where he worked, so Crooms just decided to do both at the same time to make everyone happy.
“I tried to do both at the same time, and it worked for a while, but Ford won out. During that time, one of the only ways you could make $50,000 a year in America was to go to college or work in the plants, so I stayed in the plant, and it worked out just fine.”
Decades passed but Crooms never thought about retirement until recently. “These people become your friends and your family. You get used to coming in every day and seeing everyone,” he said. But next year Crooms plans to call it quits. He wants the next phase of his life to revolve around spending time with his family, gardening and traveling the country with his partner, Roz.