Yesterday I ordered a new car, as company cars are a great way to optimize taxation in Sweden when one owns a company. After several years of making lemonade out of lemons, enjoying an impractical convertible after the practicality of a professional company car, I will once again be back in a four door company car. On Thursday, I took a short test drive, although I already knew the car quite well as I had ordered the same car several years ago at work for our team to use for development and training and had driven it a few times.
As I test drove the Volvo V40, I thought about all the amazing people who I know who worked on that car. Memories and faces, discussions and struggles, small victories and large ones, passed through my mind as I had a chance to drive the reality of a car that an amazing team of people and I helped design and build. I smiled as I thought of my colleagues who gave so much of themselves to make that car great.
This is what I love about the car industry, the chance to use a finished product daily that took several years of effort from a tremendous amount of hard-working and talented people all over the world. My team and I only supported a part of one system in the car, that brought together some of the most talented and dedicated engineers in the world. To think of all the amazing people globally, who each put their heart and soul into each piece of software, each circuit and schematic, each mechanical part, and the manufacturing process and quality that allows hundreds of thousands of those parts to be realized in the same way day after day. And beyond the engineers, there is a tremendous number of people who buy, sell, predict the customer’s wants and needs, anticipate demand, control costs, and lead the projects and people. To wrap it all up, there are the operators and plants that produce hundreds and thousands of parts, day after day, with pride and quality in their work.
So the car for me is, in a sense, a moving symphony of talent and drive, of heart and soul, and memories. For my former team and colleagues, each time I drive my new car, I’ll be thinking of and thanking you for making my drive a little safer, making me a little more aware of my surroundings, helping to compensate for my aging, and bringing a piece of yourself to my every day. I'll smile as I remember our time together.
And to all the unknown engineers, buyers, project managers, controllers, and operators, thank you for what you do. Keep your passion and innovation to bring your best to your job each and every day to make our industry safer, more enjoyable, and less of an environmental impact.