This week, the NUMMI plant in my fair city closes for good. I have a family tie to the plant; my late father worked there in security and fire protection in the GM days (1962-1982), he was taking care of security for the closed plant until it reopened in 1984 under NUMMI, and then he was in charge of security from 1984 until he retired in 1998. I think he really enjoyed working there at the end.
My last two cars have been Geo Prizms born in Warm Springs, live in Mission San Jose, and have the Fremont-to-Sunnyvale commute memorized. My current drive is a '93 Prizm that has very close to 200K on the odometer; it doesn't look as pretty as it used to (my fault), but it still gets close to 30 mpg. They made damn good cars there at NUMMI. I'm driving that dusty rose hoopty until it drops.
As I was driving to work past NUMMI this afternoon, KALW was airing the episode of This American Life that discusses the history of the Fremont plant
. I was delighted to hear an interview with one of my father's good friends who was a GM exec assigned to NUMMI and then tried to get the rest of the corporation to learn from it (too little, too late, the old culture died hard).The local ABC station has news clips of the plant's history
, and my dad is briefly in the video of the initial news conference sitting in the audience. Interestingly enough, they also caught one of my brothers videotaping the news conference for the local college.
Dad's been gone for seven years now today, and part of the legacy he helped leave behind is ending tomorrow. Things all go full circle.
Here's hoping that the plant site can be reborn into a better life for the 21st century. Good luck and thank you to all those folks who helped NUMMI be great.