A Lifetime of Helping Build a Legend

Categories: Jeep® Life 

Written by: Ashley Hill

Photography by: Ashley & Brittany Hill

Some of the most interesting and complicated products built by assembly are cars and trucks. The cost-effective production of vehicles was a development that changed lives by allowing the average American family to afford one and created high-paying jobs in cities. This is certainly true in Toledo, Ohio, which has always held a special place in our hearts. It’s a hardworking town supported very heavily by the production of Jeep® vehicles. We wanted to talk to someone who embodies the passion for making Jeep® vehicles that powers the Toledo Assembly Complex. That’s how we met Linda Holt, a 53-year employee who is the most senior ranking employee at the Toledo Assembly Complex.

Linda truly loves her job and all things to do with the Jeep® Brand. Growing up, her mom worked at the Toledo Assembly Plant in the sewing department, and Linda knew that she would work there as soon as she graduated from high school. She wanted to be a secretary, so she took some business classes to prepare. She had to wait until she turned 18 on June 9, 1966, and she clocked in for her very first shift as a clerk typist just five days later.

Linda has worked in many areas across the company as it grew and changed, starting with a variety of clerical positions and moving up to roles where she supports the crucial flow of component parts to the assembly line. She has worked in many departments in her career, including the Export Division, Machine Division, Quality Control, Engineering, Employment Office, Receiving Inspection, Purchasing, Production Control, the Press Shop and the Body Shop.

Looking back to her early years, she said, “It was such a fun job! We were all young. We worked together. We had fun. It was entertainment. It always has been fun!”

The plant currently receives parts from suppliers all over the world and they arrive in a just-in-time (JIT) production system. JIT essentially means that suppliers provide their components just before they head to the line; they are not warehoused on site. She recalled that one time there was a box of parts that had to be delivered by chopper, because if a main component does not arrive on time, the plant has to close.

“Every day is different,” she says, “and the problem solving keeps every day exciting!”

The hours at Toledo Assembly run according to demand, and production can increase when a new vehicle is set to launch. This often means employees are called in for extra shifts when more vehicles are being made. As the most senior member of her department, Linda gets first pick to request time off, but she rarely does, preferring to go into work, where she says she takes ownership over her tasks, and doesn’t like to miss a memo. She even has a parking space thanking her for her exceptional years of service.

“When I’m home, I don’t really do anything. I really enjoy going to work,” she says. “Here in Toledo, there’s really a sense of pride. I’m such a fan of the military Jeep® vehicles and honored to work at the Toledo Assembly Plant.”

woman next to a jeep vehicle
Linda at the Seagate Centre Jeep® Brand history display at Toledo Jeep® Fest

Linda currently drives a Jeep® Liberty, but loved when she ordered a Jeep® Cherokee XJ from the factory in the early ’90s. Back in the day, she was able to watch her Jeep® Cherokee go through the assembly line. 

Over the years, one of her favorite moments was when an obstacle course was set up outside the assembly plant for the employees to experience the off-road capabilities, such as traction, water fording, maneuverability, articulation and ground clearance, from the vehicle that they make every single day at their Toledo Assembly Plant. 

“It was amazing. We broke into teams, we rode with an instructor, and they let us drive. It was so amazing and scary at the same time.”

two women smiling
Linda with her daughter, Jamie Holt Lorenzo, at the Toledo Jeep® Fest

Working at the Toledo Assembly Plant really became a family affair; both her brother and her sister worked at the plant, and her grandchildren drive Jeep® vehicles because Linda works at the plant. Their love for the brand is really spread across the family.

Thank you, Linda, for your dedication to the Toledo Assembly Plant for all of these years!

two women smiling
Ashley Hill and Linda at the Toledo Jeep® Fest

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