By Lynn Ponder: My first working trip of 2013 started off with one of my favorite brands not only because I have been fortunate to work with them last year but because they are a company that cares about making our world a better place. The Ford Motor Company invited 150 Bloggers from around the world to be part of 2 ½ days of The 2013 Ford NAIAS Digital Summit including attending an amazing Ford press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Upon our arrival we had a couple of hours to relax before we would depart to a dinner at the Henry Ford Museum which truly takes you on a memory trip of historic accounts in the United States from viewing the car John F. Kennedy was shot to the Rosa Park Bus that started the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. It was the perfect setting to start learning about the legacy of The Ford Motor Company and get acquainted with the amazing group of bloggers from Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and North America. I personally was eager to talk, meet and connect with all of them, as I thought it was fascinating to have this type of opportunity.
Scott Monty, Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager for Ford explains why Ford has reached out to the international online influencers community:
During the reception at the Henry Ford Museum a panel talked about how the art of making cars sparks an initiative by Ford with Legs Media about the fusion of art and design titled Wall to Wall Fusion Collective which has gone on tour in mayor cities in the US. Moderated by Scott Monty, Panelists included: J Mays, Group VP, Design and Chief Creative Officer Ford, Cyril Duval, artist and Geremy Jasper and Georgie Greville founding members of Legs Media/Milk.
I learned that technology is breaking barriers in media and art creating a new role in design. Also that social media is helping push the role of art and design. Talking about social the Ford’s Social Team from around the world where present and did an outstanding job!
Next morning while part of the group was divided into car test drives I was directed with another group to tour the Rouge Factory where I learned about Ford’s sustainability programs and all about the green programs. I learned that Ford has a green roof which is the worlds largest living roof. Green roof what makes it green: covered by real living garden and absorbs 4 million gallons of rain water. The Rouge Factory building is a living laboratory where industry and nature live and work side by side reducing the urban heat effect. They also have a paint plant with new systems for a cleaner environment.
We also experienced viewing a documentary about Henry Ford and how The Ford Motor Company was born. It was a heartfelt piece and took us to the very beginnings in the 1900’s of a visionary man with amazing determination to help families have a better quality of life.
From learning about the evolution of The Ford Company we were taken to experience the assembly line process of Ford Trucks where a combination of robots and employees meticulously inspect each truck going through many many different tests before leaving the plant to distribution dealers.
Lunch was fun and very different experience taking us back to the 1800’s in a place where time seems to have not gone by called Eagle Tavern. The rest of our afternoon was filed with interesting panels about what Ford is doing with fuel efficiency, sustainability around the world, quality and new technology programs. Climate change was discussed in detail by a panel including best selling author Andrew Winston globally recognized green business expert, Matthew Banks from World Wildlife Fund and John Viera Global Director of Sustainability and Environmental Matters at Ford.
That evening we were shuttled to TechShop Detroit a membership-based do-it-yourself workshop, for an amazing technology announcement that Ford had created and launched the developers.ford.com. The Ford Developer Program offers a complete set of software development tools and technical services to developers and partners enabling the creation of a global development and distribution ecosystem that will drive innovation and usage.
Finally next morning we got to the Auto Show for the Ford Press Conference and OMG what an amazing experience. The setting was impressive and there were about 7,000 people from the press from around the Globe and what an exciting moment for the Ford Family from Bill Ford to CEO, Alan Mulally shared some of the amazing stats and there remarkable achievements as well as the unveiling of Atlas Concept Truck the future of Pickups with NEW technology.
Cut to all the bloggers experiencing the North American International Auto Show which was very impressive being one of the most prestigious auto shows in the world. We also had the opportunity to meet CEO, Alan Mulally who took time to share with bloggers and share his story. I was able to ask him a question: What was the secret of a Global Company like Ford keeping the feeling of a family business. Here is what he answered:
I came back from this trip energized and excited with the future! I had so much fun meeting and talking to some of the bloggers like: @rafiq, @salsabeela , @SuuperG, @greentravelgurl, @seth_leitman, @ecotekaworld, @feistyfrugal, @McManusMichael, @therebelchick, @we_heart, @cleantechies, @energytaxprof, @jenboynton @triplepundit, @MartinSagala, @fechu @sommelierdecafe and of course loved sharing with all of the fabulous latina/latino bloggers attending #FordNAIAS.
Thank you Ford en Español for this wonderful invitation!