BRUCEVILLE, Texas -- Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Company president and CEO, was in central Texas this week to meet with Future Farmers of America (FFA) members and reveal Ford's updated 2013 F-150 pickup. Meeting at a summer camp in Bruceville, near Waco, Mulally congratulated the young agricultural leaders, noting that Ford's 65-year relationship with the FFA coincided with the 65th anniversary of Ford's F-series pickup truck.
Mulally said that revealing the 2013 F-150 in Texas not only celebrated the bond between FFA and Ford, but also Texas being the nation's No. 1 market for Ford pickups.
In a question-and-answer session with the 100 FFA members, Mulally told of being a teen-ager when he heard president John F. Kennedy's speech committing the country to putting men on the moon. The Kansas native pursued an education in science and joined the astronaut training program.
After minor color blindness derailed his plan to become an astronaut, Mulally said a college professor pointed out that he could still be involved in the space race as an aircraft designer. That disappointments were often "gems" would become a life lesson, the Ford executive told his rapt audience. Mulally joined Boeing right out of college, ultimately becoming president of Boeing's commercial airplane division. He was named president of Ford in 2006.
At the end of his Q&A session, Mulally asked four of the FFA leaders to join him in unveiling pre-production models of the 2013 Lariat and 2013 XLT for the Texas auto writers, local media and members of the national press that were in attendance. Ford also had an original 1948 Ford F-1 pickup on display.
(See Ford press release for details on 2013 F-150)
Following the reveal, Mulally met with members of the Texas Auto Writers Association. The dialogue was spirited and covered a range of topics, including Ford's market strategy, the global automotive environment, Ford's turnaround and the corporation's rating being upgraded by Moody's Investors Service, enabling the automaker to sell investment-grade bonds for the first time since 2005
Mulally wrapped up his visit by stressing that Texas was hugely important to Ford across all of its line of vehicles, but especially in trucks. He noted that feedback from Ford pickup truck users across Texas and members of the Texas Auto Writers Association was important to the development and enhancement of the F-series trucks for both work and play.
Harold Gunn, former TAWA president, said, "The national reveal of two new 2013 F-150 truck models was quite a tribute to the FFA and to Texas. The frosting on the cake was our opportunity to circle the chairs and have a lengthy, warm and casual Q & A with Alan. He was gracious, cordial, entertaining, and above all, totally open with his responses, many of which were eye openers.
"Alan was most complimentary in his appreciation of the professional members of TAWA in both his speech to the FFA and to us in private. This was indeed a rare occasion that I am most grateful to have attended."
Reporting by TAWA member JAMES NELSON
Photos by JAMES NELSON and JEFF YIP
Video by ProPickup Magazine