Chrysler past has a future in large mural
From: The Toledo Blade: Business section; Saturday May 21, 1994 edition

By: Ralph Kisiel

Local Chrysler Corp. employees saw the 69-year history of the automaker unfold before their eyes during yesterday’s Family Day celebration.

A huge, colorful mural created by Toledo artist Emanuel Enriquez, 27 year employee at Chrysler’s Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg Township, was unveiled at SeaGate Centre where Chrysler shareholders had met the day before for the automaker’s annual meeting.

The 8-by-24 ft. mural titled “The Legacy Continues,” may ultimately be moved to the Chrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Mich., Mr. Enriquez said.

Family Day offered employees from Toledo Machining and Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant a chance to eat, check out Chrysler’s latest cars and trucks, get jostled in the Grand Cherokee driving simulator, race slot cars on a winding eight-track course, and buy Jeep hats and shirts.

Mr. Enriquez said he put about 4, 00 hours into the mural which depicts the history of Chrysler through its vehicles and most famous executives, including founder Walter P. Chrysler. He spent several months researching Chrysler’s history before beginning the awesome task.

“It reflects how the auto has changed and how it has changed out lives,” Mr. Enriquez said. The mural features nearly 75 Chrysler vehicles.

After having finished some technical illustrations for the Toledo Machining plant, Mr. Enriquez described a mural he has had in mind for 10 years to engineering manager Michael Bustamante, who enthusiastically encouraged Mr. Enriquez to begin the mural on the second floor of the plant’s office building. After two years, the mural was ready for display, Mr. Enriquez said. He chose to publicly unveil it at Thursday’s annual shareholder’s meeting.

Mr. Enriquez, who is planning to begin another mural for the United Auto Workers, is a Bowling Green State University alumnus and has displayed his art work at the Toledo Museum of Art and at art festivals throughout the Midwest.

Chrysler employees attending yesterday’s Family Days festivities were still buzzing about the automaker’s decision to hold the stockholder’s meeting in Toledo.

“Everybody seemed excited about it,” said Dave Smith, a Toledo Machining employee. He brought his wife Cynthia, and son Thomas, to Family Day. “It really boosts the economy,” he said.

Murvin Enders. Toledo Machining plant manager, said some employees who also are stockholders took a vacation day Thursday so they could attend the annual meeting.

“The employees, like the rest of the community, were extremely excited about Chrysler bringing its meeting here,” Mr. Enders said.

Dave Hall, a Jeep plant employee selling Jeep shirts, hats and other merchandise, said he wasn’t surprised at Chrysler’s decision to meet in Toledo.

“We proved to Chrysler that we’re viable and still making money for them,” said Mr. Hall, a member of the plant’s Product Quality Improvement team. “To compete in this market we’ve been working not only harder but smarter. This was Chrysler’s way to pay them back.”

Ron’s Conrad, Jeep unit chairman of UAW Local 12, said he appreciated Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton’s comments about new hires forthcoming at the plant and the possibility of a new vehicle being produced at the Jeep plant.

“That’s a great attitude to have,” Mr. Conrad said. “I think they came down here to give us a pat on the back. We have the oldest and most productive plant, and it has the greatest labor-management mechanism in the whole country.”


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