North America Plant Manager Retires After 45 Years

Rodney Traylor grew up on a farm with ten brothers and sisters. He wanted to be a pilot. He served in the Army for 2 years, and then in 1976 at age 19 he applied to Fred Jones and was hired tearing down water pumps with hot oil dripping on his head, for $1.65 per hour.

Forty five years later, Rodney is retiring from ATC Drivetrain (formerly Fred Jones). After he started in water pumps, he tore down heads, then was the head painter, lathe operator and crank grinder, and then he was promoted to the lead person in cranks. He was then promoted to the supervisor on the 2nd floor downtown location for brake shoe and window lifts. Later he went to transmissions where he was promoted to a supervisor. He transferred to engines as a supervisor and was then promoted to a plant manager, the role which he has held for many years.

Rodney talks fondly of when he started, and a lot of memories from the company picnics with the employees and their families. Also in his earliest memories of his career was the onsite cafeteria where he would buy breakfast and hang out with his coworkers.

Reflecting back on 45 years, Rodney says the cleaning process and chemicals have been the thing that has changed the most, while the people are what has changed the least. “We have always had great people,” he stated. He even lists some of his previous managers as personal inspiration to him – Bill Berry, Sean Tate, Debra Shumar and Cathy Walker.

While Rodney feels that he’s missed out on events with his family over the years due to his dedication to work, he now plans on spending time with his four grandchildren and working on some farm equipment.

When asked what he would miss the most, Rodney replied quickly, “the people. I will miss all the people that I’ve worked with over the years. I will miss folks giving me a hard time about being 100 years old.”

Always smiling and often adding a joke or a quick remark, Rodney Traylor’s presence at ATC will be missed greatly.


For the company newsletter announcing Rodney’s welcome to Fred Jones in 1976, click here.

For Rodney’s full interview, click here.