Veteran of GM plant returns to manage it

`I did not come here to close this facility'

February 06, 2002|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

Tim E. Stansbury, who began his career with General Motors Corp. in Baltimore 40 years ago, has been named manager of the van assembly plant on Broening Highway, the company announced yesterday.

Stansbury, who was born in Annapolis and grew up in southern Anne Arundel County, said he hopes "to help the plant put its best foot forward" in persuading GM to assign a new product to the aged facility.

"I did not come here to close this facility," he said. "I don't make those decisions."

GM has said that that production of the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans made here will continue until at least the third quarter of next year. Beyond then, the future of the products and the plant are uncertain.

Stansbury's appointment was announced yesterday, but became effective Friday.

This is his third tour of duty in Baltimore. He first joined the plant in 1964 after working at a GM parts depot a few miles away.

While working at the assembly plant, he earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the General Motors Institute in Flint, Mich., now called Kettering University.

He worked at various jobs in the plant involving material handling, production and personnel. He said he spent "a little time on the assembly line."

At that time the Baltimore plant was producing the Chevrolet Malibu and Monte Carlo. It also had a pickup truck assembly line. When he left in 1974, Stansbury was supervisor of truck manufacturing. He served as senior administrator at the GM and Toyota joint venture assembly plant in Freemont, Calif., and then went on to teach manufacturing concepts at other GM plants.

He returned to Baltimore in 1976, where he was involved in the planning that eventually prompted GM to assign its new Astro and Safari van production to Baltimore.

"I was partially responsible for planning the assembly line" at the renovated Baltimore plant, he said.

Stansbury most recently served as assistant manager at a GM assembly plant in Mexico, building the Pontiac Aztek and the Buick Rendezvous sport utility vehicles.

Lee Dorsey, president of United Auto Workers Local 239, which represents the hourly workers at the van plant, referred to Stansbury as "a good addition to the plant. He has a lot of past experience that will help in our effort to land a new vehicle."

Dorsay said the relationship between the union and management has improved substantially since Stansbury was last in Baltimore.

David C. Prange, the plant manager here since 1997, has been named manager at GM's Doraville, Ga., truck assembly plant.

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