The first car rolled off the assembly line at the General Motors Arlington Assembly Plant in 1954. Just several short years later, on Oct. 29, 1956, I began my career at the plant and have been working here ever since. It’s been 57 years and counting, but I really feel that when you love the work you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!
During my time at the plant, I’ve worn a number of different hats. I started in the body shop, worked on the chassis line and worked in repair and inspection. I currently serve as a team leader – a role I’ve had for 40 years now – where I support a group of individuals and make sure the line and all the processes run smoothly. The best part of this business, in my opinion, is that there is an opportunity to learn something new every day and there is always a challenge to take on.
One of the biggest and most memorable challenges at the plant was when we switched from car production to 400-series pickup trucks and SUVs in 1997. That was a great opportunity to learn. Now, the plant has the honor of being the only facility to make GM’s full-size SUVs. Of those, my favorite vehicle that I have worked on is the Chevrolet Tahoe.
In addition to an evolving workload, I’ve been able to see the plant expand in many ways throughout my career. The plant is at least double the size of what it used to be and now uses modern equipment like robots and has its own body shop and stamping plant onsite and something like 18 miles of conveyer belts.
Because of the plant and my family, I have a lot of roots here in Arlington, which is where my wife and I raised our daughters. I am lucky to be surrounded by many wonderful women – my wife, three daughters and three granddaughters, as well as some great female bosses. My granddaughter now works in the body shop at the plant, which is where I started this journey.
Our family loves to fish and travel a lot. We take great pride in our cars, we have always driven Chevrolets. I drive a 1500 Chevrolet Silverado and my wife drives a Chevrolet K5 Blazer. She’s had for 15 years but it makes her feel safe so she won’t trade it in.
As the plant celebrates its 60th year, I am celebrating my 81st birthday and looking back at my career with great memories. The Arlington Assembly plant has been such a good place to work for all these years and I have truly enjoyed every day!
81-year-old Charley Hall is a 57-year employee at the Arlington Assembly Plant, which celebrates 60 years of auto manufacturing this year. Visit the GM media site to learn about the changes the Arlington Assembly Plant has seen over the years.