High-Tech Problem Solvers

Ford added 3,000 new high-tech team members to create mobility solutions for the future

Ford's new tech team hires include a large number of women, something the company takes pride in.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

With specialties ranging from advanced computing to analytical and technical skills, Ford's 3,000 new employees are showing just how far Ford has come from the days of the relative simplicity of the Model T. The mobility solutions the team is working on include everything from the new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E to e-scooters, app development, city planning tools, and the forthcoming Bronco.

The modernization of the company's workforce is paired with the automaker's redesign of its office space. That starts at home, in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford's 66-year-old Product Development Center is the future home of the product development side of the business. Employees stationed there will work closely with the team located at the Michigan Central Station on mobility solutions. Ford predicts that Product Development Center development will be complete by 2025 and co-locate more than 6,000 employees.

Ford Motor Company - Product Development Center Redesign

Renderings courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford's Dearborn campus is undergoing a long-awaited upgrade.

The company's master plan calls for the Research & Engineering campus in Dearborn to house more than 20,000 employees in the future.

Currently, Ford has launched a dogs-at-work pilot program and is giving employees free coffee. Ford's employee retention rate is already better than the tech industry's average. According to Information Week, the tech industry has the highest employee turnover of any business sector at 13.2 percent.

Ford is making worker diversity a focus as the company makes hiring moves, especially focusing on women. Tracie Conn has worked for Ford's advanced engineering group that deals with vehicle sensors and algorithms for the last two years. Before that she was an engineer with NASA for five years. "This team has the highest percentage of women of any team I've worked on," said Conn. "For me, seeing other women in senior roles helps us envision ourselves in those spots one day. I hope we can serve as role models for even more young women."

The 3,000 isn't where they're stopping. Ford is currently looking to fill hundreds more openings for software developers, data scientists, digital media specialists, app developers and more.

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Ford's latest concept vehicle is designed to better-equip firefighters for the tough tasks ahead.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Filson is a brand for go-everywhere lifestyle enthusiasts looking to be equipped for the long road ahead. The Ford Bronco is ready to take them there. A new partnership between the two iconic names in outdoors-ing has resulted in the Bronco + Filson Wildland Fire Rig concept and limited-edition outdoor gear.

The Bronco + Filson Wildland Fire Rig concept features a combination of firefighting equipment, rugged materials crafted by Filson, and the four-door Bronco. It is designed to be a tribute to the decades of first responders who used the Bronco for their firefighting duties.

"Ford and Filson share a unique history of helping protect our nation's wildfire crews for more than a century and helping them access rugged areas of forests," said Dave Rivers, Bronco marketing manager. "Today, we're combining those strengths to support those who protect our natural resources as well as helping preserve our nation's forests for future generations."

Ford Bronco + Filson Wildland Fire Rig concept

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The new concept car is based on the 2021 Ford Bronco four-door Badlands trim with available Sasquatch Package. Its exterior features a Forest Service Green paint job that is similar to the color used on the first-generation U.S. Forest Service Bronco. At its face is a modular steel Ford Performance bumper with a Warn Zeon 10s winch.

A heavy-duty custom roof rack with Rigid LED light bar is mounted to the Bronco's accessory points on the side mirror arms and rear J-plate. The rack holds a Pulaski, shovel, water tanks and axes, and is strong enough to double as a firefighter lookout. Additional specialized equipment on the rig includes a Kimtek Firelite Fire/Rescue Transport skid that comes with a Hannay Reels fire hose reel, Davey high-pressure water pump, 50-gallon water tank, Stihl chainsaw, two hard hats, a high lift jack, and Sure Seal drop torch attached to it.

Filson materials make the interior of the concept tougher. There's otter green canvas door bolsters, armrests, and seat trim surrounds. The seating surfaces have quilted black leather inspired by Filson's jacket lining, and Ann embossed Bronco logo.

Grab handles and the center console are painted in matching Filson otter green while a CB radio is mounted to the Bronco's versatile BYO device rack on the instrument panel.

Fireproof ripstop nylon similar to that on Filson backpacks and briefcases is used for the bimini-style top and rear cargo area divider. The top can be opened, rolled back and secured by Filson bridle leather straps.

Bronco Wild Fund Presents: Shared History, Shared Action | Ford www.youtube.com

There's a Cerakote ceramic coating on the wheels, custom fabricated roof rack and grille, and a unique inside for the center console and instrument panel trim, all of which are designed for longevity. The center of the steering wheel features the Bronco horse plated in Filson brass. An embroidered Filson logo is mounted to the interior top and a similar logo has bee napplied to the center console trim tag.

"The Filson and Bronco collaboration was a natural fit, given the deep histories both brands have with the U.S. Forest Service dating back to the midcentury, when crews relied on the Filson Cruiser jackets and first-generation Broncos to reach remote terrain and protect them in harsh conditions," said Doug Thielen, director of marketing at Filson. "Our resilient materials and innovative product designs are the perfect complement for the rugged Bronco SUV, and honor wildland firefighters who risk it all to protect our forests and natural resources."

Earlier this week, Ford announced its new Bronco Wild Fund initiative. The company is set to use a percentage of the sales money it brings in from Bronco sales to fund an endowment that will benefit numerous outdoors-focused initiatives. Ford and the Bronco Wild Fund will donate two Broncos outfitted with firefighting equipment to help wildland fire personnel protect communities and vital natural resources.

Additionally, Filson and Ford will sell limited-edition Bronco + Filson outdoor gear at Filson.com to benefit the Bronco Wild Fund.

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The sale of every Ford Bronco will benefit America's wilderness. Ford Motor Company is establishing the Bronco Wild Fund, a charitable effort aimed at supporting the enjoyment and preservation of America's wilderness through a variety of grants and initiatives.

The endowment of the Wild Fund will be funded by a portion of the proceeds from Bronco two-door, four-door, and Bronco Sport sales, as well as Ford licensed merchandise. Ford says that the goal is for the fund to raise up to $5 million annually.

2021 Ford Bronco four-door Many orders have already been placed for the 2021 Bronco. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

As part of the announcement the company is taking first public steps today to showcase an aspect of what the fund was designed to do.

"The Bronco Wild Fund will help Bronco owners and off-road enthusiasts connect with the outdoors on a deeper, more personal level – ultimately enabling them to become responsible stewards of our nation's treasures," said Mark Grueber, Bronco brand marketing manager.

Strategic alliances will make the fund's efforts possible. The first two beneficiaries of the fund's support are the National Forest Foundation and Outward Bound USA. The National Forest Foundation, created by Congress in 1992, is the only nonprofit solely dedicated to protecting and promoting America's 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. Ford has pledged to plant 1 million new trees by the end of 2021 in cooperation with the National Forest Foundation.

Founded in 1941, Outward Bound USA pioneered outdoor adventure learning around the world and now operates in more than 30 countries. The organization will receive funds to provide access for young people to learn and grow through outdoor experiences in some of our country's great wilderness spaces.

Outward Bound USA Outward Bound USA provides outdoor experiences for America's youth.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford says that future preservation initiatives will include financial support for reforestation and trail maintenance programs, forest health, fire mitigation, and restoration work.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is expected to arrive at dealerships soon. The Bronco two-door and four-door will following in 2021.

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