One week ago I had the tremendous honour of being chosen as one of 200 bloggers around the world to head to Detroit for the #FordNAIAS Digital Summit. The event was overwhelming and to me, it embodied ideas of past and future that I believe are cornerstones of the entire Ford brand. The first idea (the one that I’ll be focusing on today) is that moving forward can only be achieved with an understanding of, and respect for, the past.
We received our first glimpse into that past at the opening night dinner at the Henry Ford Museum. The rich history of this Detroit treasure was evident as soon as we walked through the door and I, like many others, was blown away by just how many amazing exhibits the museum contained. From the bus in which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to the hilarious Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, the exhibits had my emotions jumping.
The dinner was also the scene of the opening keynote by Scott Monty and his enthusiasm for the Ford brand was inspiring. Having attended many different press events over the years, I have really come to believe that what makes a brand extraordinary is the passion of the people behind it and it was clear to see that Scott was one of those dedicated and inspired individuals that truly believes in the company he represents. After an intriguing talk about the way that Ford incorporates design into both its vehicles and its promotional material, it was time to eat!
The dinner gave me a chance to reconnect with my very best friends and business partners at enCompass Media and interact with some of the bloggers that had been invited from other countries. Everyone I met was enthusiastic about the prospect of learning more about the Ford Motor Company and its initiatives, and getting the chance to form friendships that transcended borders was something that will always make me very thankful to the good people at Ford Canada.
The next day my experience reliving Ford’s past continued with a tour of the Ford Rouge Factory in Dearborn. The tour kicked off with a film about Henry Ford’s life and though I knew the basic story of the man that revolutionized the manufacturing industry, hearing about Henry Ford in such rich detail was captivating. After the video, we were able to view the Rouge from above and see the way that Ford has combined the original factory buildings with new construction to create an efficient and eco-friendly facility. The factory’s ten-acre roof planted with sedum actually holds the Guinness World Record for the largest living roof!
Finally, we headed to the suspended walkway above the factory floor itself so that we could see the assembly process of the Ford F-150 trucks that were built on the plant. Actually witnessing that assembly line of the vehicles was an overwhelming experience. It was a living legacy to the impact that one man’s vision can have on the world.
Having been thoroughly immersed in the history of the Ford Motor Company, we headed off for lunch at the Eagle Tavern. The 1850s time-period meal at this picturesque restaurant in Greenfield Village was a fitting choice after all the history we’d experienced. But now it was time to move forward and see what Ford might have in store for us in the future!
I have always found Ford to be an innovative and progressive company but after experiencing the history of the company, I can see how strongly its past vision still drives Ford forward. After all, Henry Ford’s initial innovation of the assembly line 150 years ago was, at the time, a revolution that is still impacting the world to this very day. The Ford Motor Company remembers its roots and there is no doubt in my mind that the company will continue to be a leader in innovation for many years to come.
Make sure to keep an eye out for my second post on my Ford NAIAS experience about moving into the future!
Disclaimer: Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations at the three day NAIAS Digital Summit. I was not compensated in any other manner for my time. Opinions expressed belong to Mommy Kat and Kids and are not altered in any way. Please view full Terms and Policies.