Have you ever seen what it takes to mass produce cars? Darren, the guy on the far right, is a friend from church who is head engineer at the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio. That’s where the Chevy Cruze is made; 1,200 of them every day, five days a week.
Darren Ford (yes, that’s really his last name) volunteers teaching the middle school kids Wednesdays at church. He organized a tour of the GM plant, the massive building that means so much to our local economy. We learned some pretty cool stuff from Mr. Ford, and not just about cars.
Darren led us through the plant, stopping at different stations and shouting over the sounds of the machines with info about the process. There was a path indicated by yellow lines that we had to stay on for our own safety. There were lots of forklifts zipping about and we had to be careful. There was even a traffic light that would go red whenever a car being transported to the next stop in the assembly line came to an intersection in the middle of the plant.
It looked like an indoor amusement park with one long ride swiveling in and out, up and down. The precision was impeccable. Every person had a role to play and did it well. Darren noted that the effectiveness of every person was crucial to keep production on target. If there was a problem at any point in the line, the whole line would stop.
Darren has a team of 12 engineers that help keep things working and come up with better ways to do things, but anybody with an idea to improve things can submit it. He pointed out a device the team developed to help install windshields. It’s a mechanical arm that reaches down to press the middle of the windshield as the worker secures the outside edges to the adhesive. It’s now used in most GM plants across the world!
As we finished the tour, Darren took us to his office. It’s in a maze of offices separated by five foot walls in a large room. His is very roomy and he has a long window so I imagine it’s considered the executive cubicle. After passing out free water bottles, he made a brief but awesome point about what we had seen:
This plant is a representation of creation. Our world gravitates towards chaos. If all of the engineers took a vacation for a week this place wouldn’t gravitate toward order, but rather things would get more chaotic. In the absence of an intelligent being working on a system, that system breaks down over time. It’s the same with our world. I comment to my staff that it’s hard for me to fathom that a person working here can believe in anything other than a God who keeps our vast world from falling apart, which it would on its own.
Thank God that he created and keeps his world in order, ’cause I’d hate to experience the alternative. Well said, Darren!
[Christ] existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. (Colossians 1:17, NLT)