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Third Generation Auto Worker Rolls into the National Spotlight

Toledo Jeep® worker follows in family's footsteps

September 1, 2016

With his trademark bald head and big smile, Joe Nudi may be a familiar face to family, friends and coworkers, but recently his face appeared on the national stage — perhaps one of the biggest stages in the United States: the Democratic National Convention (DNC). A third-generation auto worker, Joe’s story aired in a video that played before President Bill Clinton spoke to the packed convention center in Philadelphia, as well as a national audience.

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Joe Nudi works on the line at the Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio.

Joe lives in Toledo, Ohio, the home of Jeep® for the past 75 years, and he proudly works at the plant that builds the iconic Jeep Wrangler. Joe started working at the Toledo Assembly Complex as a teenager in 1996. He comes from a long line of automotive workers. His grandmother, grandfather, mother and father all worked for Chrysler, now FCA US, with a combined 125 years of service.

004A0526 (1)Joe says he got emotional when he saw the DNC video. “It was a real honor to be a part of the introduction video of Bill Clinton. When I saw the picture on the screen of my wife Debbie, daughter Lillian and me, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. It gives me so much pride to know that Lillian will grow up and be able to say she was part of history as she was on the jumbo screen as the first woman to be a presidential candidate was selected.”

Joe’s story doesn’t end with his 15 minutes of fame. He’s still living the greatest dream he could imagine. Over two decades, Joe has gone from a part-timer to a team leader at the Toledo Assembly Complex. He’s extremely passionate about his job and wants others to know how great it is, from the moment he gets up until he goes home and all of the fun in between.

uawsmallJoe says his mornings always begin with a shave. He shaves his face and head and says if he skips this part of his routine, he notices it all day. He fuels up on coffee and that’s not all. “My day really gets started when I fire-up my 2013 Jeep Wrangler. I turn the radio up, the top comes off and more than likely I’ll take the doors off, too. Nothing beats the cool morning ride to wake me up and start the day,” Joe says. “I arrive at the plant somewhere between 5:00 and 5:10 a.m. We start at 5:12. My arrival depends on whether there’s a good song on. If there is, I’ll make a trip around the plant to soak up the beautiful morning.”

Joe is the team leader for the Jeep Wrangler assembly line. He started in 1996 as a temporary part time employee and became full time in 1999. He learned to be a welder there. “I like to say that I was the hoist before there were hoists. Since I had little seniority, they made me lift everything.”

Being a third-generation auto worker, Joe says “it’s nice to see everything that my family members did in the auto industry while raising their families. It gives me pride that the people who came before me were my family. I remember when I was a floater and had to work in an area by my mom, who was a team leader. People would say, ‘if you mess up, I’m telling your mom!’ Even knowing it was a joke still made me realize that I wasn’t just doing my job for me but I was making my mom proud too.”

“There’s a sense of pride knowing that I contributed to our quality and am able to get a Jeep to a customer faster. I’m living proof that the sooner you can get your Jeep, the sooner you can enjoy it.”

IMG_5921smileAs far as passing his passion on to his daughter, Lillian, Joe just hopes she can learn from his example that hard work and dedication can lead to her own greatest dream.

Article based on a post by the FCA Corporate Blog OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR. This story is the latest installment of the “Off the Line” series; to read the previous installment please click here.