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Engineered to last

Retired Ford employee leads group at Fox Run

Created date

February 23rd, 2015

Located in Novi, Mich., Fox Run is home to dozens of people who spent their careers at Ford. Howard Freers is one of those people. He and his wife Eleanor moved to Fox Run two years ago from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 

After graduating from a small engineering school in Indiana in 1948, Howard went on to build a career in the auto industry. He worked for Ford as a chief engineer for 22 years and retired in 1988. 

Howard remained connected to the company after his retirement by joining the Ford Retired Engineering Executives (FREE) Club. 

When he moved to Fox Run, he was interested in connecting with the other Ford retirees who lived there. He decided to start a Ford group at the Erickson Living community.

Getting connected

“I said, ‘I need something to keep me occupied,’ and last August, I found out there are 60-plus people living here who have some Ford background,” Howard says. 

In October 2013, Howard held the first meeting of the Ford group at Fox Run. He says about 20 to 30 people usually attend the monthly meetings, and the club is open to people who worked at Ford, as well as to others who are simply interested in the auto industry.

Howard spends time scouring headlines about Ford to identify discussion topics for meetings. He also brings information from his FREE Club meetings back to Fox Run. That influential group often hosts high-level Ford executives as speakers, so Howard says he has a lot of interesting news to report back to his Fox Run neighbors. 

Informative discussion

At past meetings, Fox Run’s Ford group has discussed topics like the design of the new Ford F-150, Ford’s sales information compared to other auto manufacturers, and the safest cars in the industry. At one meeting, Howard conducted a tutorial to show residents how to use the Ford retirement benefits website. 

Howard says he encourages members of the club to approach him with any questions they might have about the company. If he doesn’t know the answer offhand, he says he is happy to do some research and get back to the group.

“I have a number of contacts at the company,” Howard says. “And the FREE Club has 460 people, and many of them are recent retirees and people who were vice presidents, so I can bring questions to them, too.”

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