Tuesday, January 6, 2015

blue badging it...

With the new year come new challenges...or as my fortune cookie said "There are big changes ahead for you".

I have been working in the auto industry since August of 1991.  Working either as a contractor or as a direct supplier, but always for Chrysler.  From a green badge to a red badge and now, as of January 1st as the subject implies, I am a BLUE badge!

I have moved up the food chain from my humble beginnings as a receptionist at a Chrysler design shop to what I am doing now; Product Data Management Administrator...actually, I know that was what I was doing at the end of 2014, but I'm not 100% sure what I will be doing in 2015 and beyond.  My official title is Diesel Integration Program Support.

From the time I started working as a contractor for Chrysler, I have yearned to be a direct employee.  The powers that be that were directing me had always kept that like a carrot, an unreachable goal, which made me want it more.

After much frustration, in August 2006 I moved on to the supplier side of things.  I was forewarned by a recruiter that once you leave Chrysler, it is nearly impossible to come back.  I had never known this to be true as I had seen plenty of people I knew coming and going.  But the warning always stuck in my head.

In June 2009, Fiat and Chrysler aligned and at the end of October 2013, Fiat purchased the remaining 50% of my company (VM Motori) from Penske.  Prior to that, Fiat had already owned half.

Things started getting strange for those in our building starting in April 2014, when the Italian portion of the company, located in Cento, Italy were converted to FGA (Fiat Group Automobiles) and Chrysler changed their name to FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)...and the rest of us in the North American portion of our company were not being told anything.  We were being asked for our resumes, which was unsettling.  Rumors started flying and anxiety was the dish of the day.

There are only 21 employees in my building and I've been through something like this before when I worked for FEV.  At Brown Road #2, while working for FEV, there were 15 of us working on a new engine for Chrysler and then Chrysler went into bankruptcy.  Our engine was shelved and our building was closed.  Some people were assigned to the main FEV building, some were reassigned to be on-site Chrysler and others...namely me, were laid off.

In November 2014 we had a large meeting with Chrysler's HR.  They informed us that they would be transitioning all of us to Chrysler, with all the benefits that come with it. AMAZING.  It's like I was just sitting there and an awesome opportunity, one that I had longed for in my earlier years, one that I was sure would never happen to me, happened.  It was handed to me on a silver platter. 

Now to make something of it.



---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---

I want to take this opportunity to thank those that were instrumental in getting me this far in my career.

Tech Row - My dad is the one who told my mom of a full time job position at the design shop he was working.  I had just been separated from my then husband and was living in my parents basement since January.  My mom prodded my dad to get more information about it.

My first boss, Chuck Martin.  He was a kind man and wasn't a micro-manager.  When our building was shutting down because all of the employees were being moved to Chrysler's new building, he along with my contract house, found me another job.

Liberty & Technical Affairs - I had a really bad boss here.  Luckily I also had some nearly retired guys that liked me and utilized me, Del DeRees, Don Jay, John Argeropolous.  Eventually taking me away from the reception desk and offering me an Executive Secretary position.  Later, the same nearly retired guy, Del DeRees wrote up a lovely referral letter for me so that I could move on to another higher paying position at CTC.

LCP, Chassis - I had an even worse boss here than I did when I first started at L&TA.  I want to thank the recruiters at my contract house, Jim Imrick and Rick Wisnewski for temporarily placing me in a position and then getting me an interview with a couple of managers at JTE.

Truck Interior and BIW - My boss, Steve Jakubiec gave me the opportunity to learn the Chrysler database VPM so that I could move away from being a secretary and move into a role that would utilize my design studies.  Steve Swailes was assigned to set up training for me.  Both guys were amazingly nice and forever patient with me.  That leads me to Chris DeMartini.  He is the most awesome and patient trainer.  Funny too.

Jeep Chassis to Truck Interior...again - I want to thank David Ramirez for putting in a good word for me and Dana Warehime (sweetest man ever) for (re)hiring me to be their VPM Coordinator.

FEV to VM-NA - John Blacklock heard from his wife (at the time) Kimberly that VM was looking for a VPM Coordinator.  I had just been let go and with that information, I was able to get an interview and got the job.

VM-NA (in general) - Thank you for only hiring me part time for the past 5 years.  It gave me the opportunity to be with my dad for the last years of his life and especially his last 6 months.  It gave me the opportunity to spend meaningful time with my mom taking her shopping, lunch and just basically getting her away from the house.  It gave me the opportunity to deliver meals for Meals on Wheels every other week for nearly 5 years...something that I had always wanted to do.  It gave me the opportunity to stay home and enjoy some of what that means.  Now, thank you again for giving me this opportunity to finally work "direct" for Chrysler, without having to jump through any hoops.

Also, thanks Jerome for being fine with me working part time and for never giving me a hard time about bringing home less money.