Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg visits Ford Rouge Plant in Dearborn – Detroit Free Press
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, spent time working on a Ford assembly line Thursday, in what he said was his first visit to Michigan.
The visit also may send pickup buyers searching for his autograph in their trucks.
In a long note posted on Facebook that ended with a smiley face, the tech executive wrote that his first stop was at the Ford Rouge Plant in Dearborn, where he met with the automaker’s executive chairman, Bill Ford, and helped assemble some F-150 pickups “by adding antennas, cleats and drilling screws.”
“I even signed the inspection sticker on one,” Zuckerberg wrote. “You’re welcome, future F-150 owner.”
The trip was part of his New Year’s resolution to connect with more Americans and mend what he said were societal divisions wrought by technology and globalization. Zuckerberg has said he plans to visit and meet people in every state by the end of the year.
“After a tumultuous last year,” he posted, “my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future.”
In previous years, he challenged himself to build artificial intelligence, learn Mandarin, read books — and run.
Ford officials confirmed Zuckerberg’s visit and meeting, but it is unclear how long it had been scheduled. It came on the same day Ford announced first-quarter profits.
“He chose to come to Michigan this week, and meet with our employees to learn about their work and how they are incorporating new technology and innovation into their business,” Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said in an e-mail to the Free Press. “Bill Ford took him for a tour of the Dearborn Truck Plant, showing him how we are using advanced sustainable manufacturing in our operations.”
Krusel said Zuckerberg spent time talking with employees, and then went to Ford’s product development center, where he rode in a Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle and met with Ford CEO Mark Fields “to get a feel for how the company is preparing for the future as it transforms to be an auto and mobility company.”
Zuckerberg posted photos of himself working and listening at the pickup plant in his signature gray T-shirt.
On his Facebook status update, Zuckerberg said that the most interesting part of his visit was chatting with workers.
“Working on the line at an assembly plant is physically hard, and the people I met talked about how tiring it is and how worn down you get,” he wrote. “Each person told me separately how important it is to have good shoes because you’re essentially walking on a treadmill for 10 hours a day. Every 52 seconds, you have to go through your set of tasks — 650 times a day. You have to be perfect, but the biggest challenge is having the focus to do the same thing over and over again. The people I met are so good they keep the line running at full speed and listen to audio books or music in one earbud to stay engaged.”
He ended his note with a nod to friends and family — and a smiley face emoji.
“Working at Ford is a long-term thing. Most of the workers I met had been at the plant for at least a decade, and a lot of them have kids and friends who work there, too. Someone told me that when you spend 11 hours a day, four days a week together, you end up becoming family and friends outside of work, too.
“Thanks to Bill Ford and everyone I met for having me. And thanks to the line workers who checked my work ☺”
Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. USA TODAY contributed to this report.