Earlier this year, Joe Araujo was named Complex Manager for the Detroit Assembly Complex, which is comprised of the Mack and Jefferson North plants. He most recently served as plant manager at Jefferson and before that at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario, where the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger are built. Get to know Joe through our Question and Answer feature below:
Question: What are you most excited about with your new role and responsibilities?
Joe Araujo: Well, I now have responsibility for an entire complex that builds one of the most legendary and iconic vehicles – the Jeep® Grand Cherokee. I also get to lead a team toward creating some new history with the launch of the new Grand Cherokee, as well as the Dodge Durango, at Jefferson. And it’s exciting because we’re not just manufacturing vehicles here, we’re manufacturing two great nameplates. I’ve also taken a lot of pride in developing leaders within our organization, and this gives me the opportunity to interact with more potential leaders going forward.
Q: What are your goals for the plants?
JA: My main goals are to keep the teams focused on making continuous improvements in everything that we do. And driving best in class performance in health, safety and quality, delivery, costs, and environmental metrics. And I need to instill a vision with our team on where we want to be in the future, which is to be the best at giving our customers exceptional quality and value in our products.
Q: How important is it to create a sense of community and belonging within the complex and the surrounding neighborhoods?
JA: It’s extremely important. We need to listen to and understand the voice of our community and identify where we can help. Our team understands that we have a responsibility not only toward the community within our complex, but the community outside the complex as well.
Q: Being part of the community, what do you want the community to know about the plant and what the team does here?
JA: We’re not just a place that builds cars and employs a lot of people. We have a responsibility to the community that we work in to make sure that we’re not impacting their lives in a negative fashion, and if there are areas where we can improve our presence in the community, then we want to hear about it and work toward achieving those improvements.
Q: As a Canadian, what have you learned about the hardworking spirit of the people of Detroit?
JA: I’ve learned that the people of Detroit have a great sense of pride in being from the Motor City. And here specifically at the Detroit Assembly Complex, they’re extremely proud that it’s the home of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. And they have a passion to keep these products in our complex for many generations to come.
Q: When you’re not working, what are some of your hobbies and favorite things to do?
JA: One of my favorite things to do is spend time with my family; it’s a growing family. I like to golf and fish. And I have the opportunity now to pass on those passions to my grandchildren. I have a lot of fun spending time on the lake with them, and hopefully teach them how to catch fish.
Q: How many grandchildren and children do you have?
JA: I have six grandchildren and three daughters. I’ve been married for 37 years.
Q: What was your favorite vehicle you’ve owned?
JA: My favorite was the Dodge Charger SRT, which was a lot of fun. My neighbors didn’t like it too much, especially going to work at 4 o’clock in the morning and starting it up, but it was probably my favorite vehicle. My kids really enjoyed it.
Q: What would be your dream vehicle?
JA: Well now I’m going to show my age. I’d have to say the Jeep Grand Cherokee 3-row Summit, made at the Mack plant. It has a lot of luxury, and it has a lot of room, so I can put my six grandchildren in the vehicle, and it’s got all the bells and whistles to keep them entertained.
Q: How exciting is it to have an innovative product like the new Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe built here?
JA: It’s obviously very exciting. It’s what our industry is working toward, looking at new ways of building vehicles that are more environmentally friendly. It’s also challenging because there’s a big race in electrification right now. We’re all fighting for the investment and technology to make that happen and get those fully battery operated vehicles out to the customers.
Q: What would that mean to the plant to get more investment?
JA: It’s sustainability for the plant. We can continue to keep this complex going, providing good jobs for people today and for generations to come.
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