Several engineers have told me that they used to ask to work with you.
If you do a job properly, and if you’re friendly enough, and I’m pretty easy going … we get a lot of guys who come in brand new out of school, and they’re given a certain task. They’re assigned to whatever project, and there may be three or four guys in that program, and you’re the new guy on the block, and they bring you down and here’s Marc. And you know,
“How are you doing?” and the whole bit.
First thing I would say is, “Well, take my chair.”
They’d give me an odd look and I’d say, “You’re doing my job today.”
“I want you to understand what happens here, and what I have to do, the key issues; that way, when you go to write your work order, you will know what our needs are here.”
So, I let the guy sit down and that day, he’s my operator. I tell him how to do this and how to do that, within reason. Start it up, and teach him about what’s this and what’s that, and how we get the controls for water control and oil control and temperatures and pressures and humidity and there’s a lot that goes on there, and certain limitations you may have, so don’t tell me to run 200° when I can’t. You have to know what our limitations are, and if you can’t go there, why we can’t, and if we need to, then maybe a different place to go.
It’s always important that the engineer not only know what I do, but what the key limits of the environment; what I look out for and how I do things, and hopefully, if I have a problem or an issue, I can tell you, talk back and forth and work as a team. It’s not you or me, it’s just both of us. I don’t like surprises, so I’d rather, if you have something going on, tell me, and if I have something going on, I’ll tell you. It’s as simple as that.
This is a matter of working together, but I had a number of times, where I’d go into different cell for overtime, and run a certain test:
“What are you after? What are you doing?”
“Well, I’m doing this and like…”
“Why are you doing it this way?”
“Well, that’s how I was told to do it.”
“Well, you might want to try it this way, instead,” and explain why. But maybe there’s a reason why we do it a different way.
He said, “Wow, I never… I was never told that. I never knew that.” So, he didn’t know it.
Maybe the operator, being a new guy, he didn’t know either, but that happened quite a few times, and you know, then again, hopefully, if you do it properly, they learn, understand and realize that, wow, it’s important to do it right, because you’re making decisions based off of what you see and do.
To me, the utmost priority is that you put out good data. If the data’s false, and you’re making a decision on what cranks you have to build next, and the engineer’s getting bad numbers, it’s a bad part, and that’s not good for me or you or the company. So, why go there? It doesn’t make sense.
It’s a degree of what you put into it and what you feel comfortable with, as far as doing a good job, and I think by doing that, you gain respect. You’re doing it consciously, you’re looking to do a good job. And if you find problems, too … I got to a point, sometimes, where people are actually fighting for you. It’s a new project and “Okay, we’ve got to look for a good operator. We need a guy who’s reliable and you can trust,” and that’s why I got the first engine at times, the first 2.7 or the first job to go out to Auburn Hills, and I got to be one of the first guys to come out. Because the people that they can trust to do the job, and do it right. Unfortunately, not everybody does that, and that’s just the way it works.
Marc Rozman: “We made the move to CTC in the late 1990s. Five dyno techs were selected to get the new powertrain facility running. I was the first one on Saturday, and the rest all started on Monday. I had set up a 3.5L V6 for base testing of test cell 9 in the new Wing A, which had a wish list of cells the engineers had been asking for.
Whether it be a doctor or a consultant or whatever, some guys just do a better job at it, but I always enjoyed it too. I always liked what I did.
I set my watch alarm as a reminder to go home. People thought it was kind of funny. Your alarm’s going off, and most guys are sitting by the door at a certain time to leave, and I always had to be reminded that I had to go home.
You have to realize that what you’re doing is pretty cool stuff. You’re not just a garage mechanic. I call it a glorified mechanic, we’re mechanics by trade, but I’ve always called us glorified mechanics, because we’re working on new stuff, important stuff, and if you’ve learned a lot, you can take that into your private life too.
If you’ve worked on cars on the side, and you can do that kind of stuff, and hopefully do it better than most guys, because you have that engineering background, the things we’ve learned.
There were times where, because I knew that problem or condition, I could fix it better than the garage mechanics. I knew what was going on, or I knew there was a new part that came out to replace it, and I can hopefully find it or get it, and put the right part in there.
A lot of guys I broke in in the ’70s or ’80s, now, twenty years later, now they’re senior engineers and managers or RVPs, and they’ll remember that experience, that work with you or, what you did for them or vice versa, and hopefully you gain friendships too. To me, that’s all part of it, too.
That’s how you got to know people like Burke Brown, Pete Hagenbuch, and…
Yes, good people, and Bob Lee is a V.P. now. Bob’s a great guy. He was pretty involved in the 3.5 stuff, more on a manager level, but if he came down at all, I’d say, he may be a manager, but to me, people are people, and you treat them all right.
Some people get all quirky when the manager walks in. Well, I don’t care, come on in and sit down. Let’s talk. I think we’re on a level where we can communicate well. If I had a problem at all with the engineer, I had no problem at all going to the manager and saying, hey, this guy is screwing up. But that never really happened much. I think it only happened one time. One time I did that, where an engineer was useless to me or the company, so I think I told his boss, “Put him somewhere else, we don’t need him.” If he had to keep the guy and put him somewhere else where he couldn’t do any damage at all…. that’s unfortunate.
Some of these guys come in with the degrees, and they know it all. I tell them all, okay, you’ve got the degree, but this is real life here, now. This goes on and this is how it works. If you do it right, you don’t insult the guy too much at all, but just, you have to understand that I’ve been there for a while and have some experience, and I may not have the degree, but I’ve got that experience, and hopefully, that’s valuable.
Other guys would appreciate it and make the best of it, too. I always felt very fortunate. I see there’s good guys and good friends too. I have no problem at all talking to people. And you could tell that, right?
I’m active, too. I’ve involved, and I enjoy the Chrysler Museum here [where the interview took place], and being a volunteer here. A lot of people who are volunteers here, I know from work. But it’s about enjoying what you’re doing, and having fun. Try keeping those contacts too, keeping people, remembering them and talking to them. I like keeping in contact with people, too. That’s always fun too. You never know, too, when you may have a need to call upon somebody and if you ask them for a favor, and they’re more than willing to do it, usually.
I was fortunate and had a good life in engineering. I’m very proud of that. It was good. It’s as simple as that. It was a good deal. I enjoyed it. I didn’t mind retiring. I always say you can, you shouldn’t be loving your job. You should like your job, not love it, because your job won’t love you back. You should like what you do, but not love it. There’s other things you should cherish more in life, but it’s good to like what you do and like the people, and hopefully, it returns the favor.
I always enjoy meeting new people. I got notes from the designers, also, and those guys, they have their important tasks to do. They have appreciation for not only engineers, but mechanics, but there’s a lot of different people that play a part in any business. It takes everybody to have the education and enjoy what they do, and do a good job at it — there again, it’s like building a team together. The company should be a team, where everybody has the same common goal, and we’re out to make the best product, that people can enjoy and feel comfortable in, and have trust in. It’s a total package, really.
It doesn’t matter if you have a car that runs well, if it’s not designed properly, it’s not going to sell. Everything’s got to be right, the comfort level and the driveability and the look and the feel. If you don’t feel comfortable in a car, what good is it? So, everybody’s different, but some people are more picky about how they look in the cars, some people feel more strongly about safety or reliability or performance. Everybody has a thing, but if build a car that’s got a total package, I think you can’t go wrong. And that doesn’t happen all the time, either. People know that by car sales, I guess.
But a lot of people figure too, where maybe you’ve got a certain issue or like the gas mileage stuff, they say, “Just make a car that does better.” You can’t do that, you can’t flip a switch and make a car get 50 miles a gallon overnight. It’s just not going to happen. See, what we do testing wise and the degree and effort we put in, in getting the best mileage, the best drivability, … you want the car to perform well, to be reliable, it takes a lot, and you just can’t do it overnight.
You realize that when you get in that car, a lot went into that vehicle. You make it what it is and you hop into it. It takes years. But, if something happens in the world, you can’t turn on a dime. You can’t make another product in a week. It just doesn’t happen that way.
By the time you do make a change or product, and bring it out five years later, the issue that created the change might not be there anymore. It could be a total reversal, so how do you get the magic ball out and figure out which way to go, and how far do you lean, left or right?
The guys that have the crystal ball, and can figure out where to go and how to do it, they come out with the best guy on top, he’s the new boss when he’s right.
And this is why, just because you have access to patents for direct injection and multi-air and whatever, we don’t have direct injection, multi-air engines, right now.
Yeah, yeah. It just takes time to do that, but there’s a process to combine technologies, and figure out who’s going to do them, number one, and who’s got the patent rights, and get the approval to use those, and get those engineered properly, the drawings and figure out who’s going to handle what, and who’s going to do what.
There again, even engineer wise, you got some great engineers and you got some engineers that aren’t so good. So, it depends on who gets the project, who can stay for it and how well that project comes along, how well it does, and I think if the right mechanic will help and the right testing involved, that a project can go very well. If things are not the best, it could be new problems.
Whether you’re working in a vehicle or car company, or you’re working in another field, it just takes the right people and the right knowledge, and it takes some money, too. It takes money to do the testing development.
A lot of stuff has happened before. I went through three or four cycles with Chrysler up and down, somehow you always pull out of it. You just hope for people to recognize hopefully a good product that you’ve built, and at least please look at it to buy, and give it some consideration. I always tell people, at least look at it. Give it some thought. Just don’t go by the first thing you see, or the ratings, at least give our product a look first. And if you like it, then go for it and we’ll support you on that. That’s the bottom line.
I heard that at Chrysler, a lot of people are busy, a lot of work is going on, a lot of change needed to happen quickly. They’re looking to have things move fast. So, people that are working, right now, they’re busy, they’re looking to hire more people, not only for engineering but for production also.
Overall, it’s a boomerang, they feel that they’re back under control of a car leadership, versus business. I think it’s more of a car culture, versus a business culture. I think it feels a lot more positive, now.
Even though you’re under the gun to get things done, they know that they have to, to survive, and in a year or two there may be a comfort zone, but we can’t take it for granted, because there’s going to be another wave again, sometime it will happen, it’s a matter of when and who will be involved.
Hopefully, there will be some stability for a while and it’s a good product coming out here. Chrysler’s doing a lot of stuff, a lot of revamping on interior and they’re conscious of the cars being done properly, I’ve heard positive things.
The place is looking nice around here. The complex is really looking like a complex again. It looks great right here, right now. You not only have to put it on a good operation, but you have to have a good front out there too. The people see you in nice places, and know we’re alive again. We’re still here. It’s still Chrysler, it’s still important, it’s still mostly American, and they need to do a good job and keep their job.
That’s the bottom line, but it’s too important not to overlook it all. I hope we and everybody else can continue to do a good job and come out looking pretty good, and keep people back to work. That’s the main thing. Around here, a lot of people are out of work, right now. It affects everybody around here. A lot of people are related to automotive, around here.
Even though this area right here is pretty high strung on a lot of stuff, people who live around here, if they lose their job at Siemens or wherever else, they live and work and play around here, and if there’s no work here, at all, you look for someplace else to go. You have to survive, whether you do it here or somewhere else. So, it’s a tough thing right now, but I think it’ll come back.
Marc Rozman retired in 2008 from Cell 5 in Wing A.
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