Production team member, Modatek Systems, Milton, Ontario
Lives: Mississauga, Ontario
Family: Mother of six adult children, 27 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
YOU’VE SPENT 38 YEARS AT MAGNA PLANTS IN CANADA. WHAT LED YOU TO MAGNA?
As a single mother with six kids, I came to Canada from Jamaica when I was 26 in search of a better life.
I started life as an orphan. I lost my mother at a young age. I don’t remember her and I’ve never seen a picture of her.
My dad died when I was 5. My siblings and I were scattered to different relatives. I experienced racism because my mother was black and my father was white. I had my first child when I was 16. Before I came to Canada, I worked as a supervisor at a McDonald’s restaurant in Jamaica. I made about $75 a week. It wasn’t enough.
I love to work at Magna. My first Magna job was in 1982 as a machine operator at the Downsview Stamping plant in Concord, Ontario. My sister, Brenda Smith, worked there. The same day she started her job, she brought me an application, and I was hired. I could buy lots of groceries with the money I made. From 1986 to 2005, I actually worked two jobs to support my children. From 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., I worked as a maid at the Ramada Inn in Etobicoke, and then I worked the afternoon shift at the plant. I had to put food on the table.
After the Downsview plant closed, I started working at Modatek in April 2005. Today, my job is to do quality checks on parts after they come off the line. The pay, profit sharing and benefits are good. The workers and management are nice. Everyone knows me there because I like to dance. My co- workers even made a YouTube video of me dancing. It’s my way of cheering up everybody.
I’m always happy.
When the music is playing, we dance. It makes me feel lively. You have no time to fall asleep.
YOU’VE SERVED ON VARIOUS COMMITTEES AT MAGNA PLANTS. TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE.
I have been on the Fairness Committee and the Health and Safety Committee. These are so positive for employees. You get to voice your concerns. You get to be heard. I know the Open Door Process works. I see the attention that is given to making sure everyone is safe. It’s been even more obvious with the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything is in order. There is one way into the plant and one way out. The washroom is continually sanitized. It makes you feel safe and confident.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR LIFE AT HOME.
Alvin and I got married in a Pentecostal church in Jamaica in February 2017. I met him online. He was living in Jamaica and we kept corresponding.
My daughter Trudy Stewart insisted on meeting him first. She came back from Jamaica and said, “Mom, I think you are going to like him. I think we are all going to like him.” Alvin and I think the same way about everything, like how to decorate a house. This is his first experience working in a factory. It’s not a Magna plant. He started working there in May 2018. I told him to “watch out for the forklift.” I always give him advice about safety. Things I learned at Magna.
Three of my daughters and four of my grandkids live with us. I only cook on Sundays, while my daughters Trudy and Kenisha cook during the week. Alvin does the cooking on Saturday. He makes delicious Jamaican red pea soup.
I love doing the Zumba classes at the gym, and I also like going to church. I love my church, the Bethel Prayer Ministry International in Etobicoke. It’s a Pentecostal church, one that makes a lot of noise. When the music is playing, we dance. It makes me feel lively. You have no time to fall asleep.
DO YOU HAVE PLANS FOR RETIREMENT?
No! I’m aiming for 40 years at Magna – or more.
Joy Morgan (middle), Primrose Gibon and Don Walker 1995
Sr. Key Account Manager, Magna Electronics
Lives: Southfield, Michigan
Family: Married; wife Raquel works in tech support for a sports company
How would you describe your job?
I’m an engineer who is fascinated by the ‘business side’ of the business. I have a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and an MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso. I like being an account manager because I can relate to the technical aspects and the financial side of the program. I started at Magna in 2016 after a Magna recruiter reached out to me. I started researching the company, and I liked how flexible and agile it is. We do the right thing and we do it quickly. I enjoy what I do because when you look at our technology, it’s empowering and encouraging. It’s stuff that everyone would like on their vehicles. Our products enhance the customer experience and improve safety.
Were you always interested in cameras?
For some reason, it’s always been about cameras for me. Photography is one of my hobbies. I especially like night photography and taking micro pictures of bugs, plants and droplets of water on the tree in my backyard. I also started building drones with cameras about seven years ago. They are like flying an iPad. So when we talk to customers about cameras, I have a lot in common with them. I can talk about cameras in general and cameras in the drones. It’s understanding the technical language and having an ease of understanding about what the customer needs.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Mexico City. My dad, an electrical engineer, had a factory that made credit cards for the national banks. When I was a kid I would work for him in the summers, fixing machines, working on the line and putting the cards inside of envelopes and taking them to the post office. My dad was very technical and knew a lot about electronics. He had cameras on the line to make sure nothing went wrong and to ensure quality. He showed me how the cameras worked on a manufacturing line.
Cameras seem to be a constant presence in your life.
Yes, even during the COVID-19 crisis, we were busy making videos and doing virtual demonstrations of our technology. We’re using videos more than we ever have. It really helps. It’s a way to cope, adapt and show the new technology that we are continually rolling out.
Some of DANIEL RIVERO's amazing drone photography