Posted on February 26, 2019 in Articles
On February 8, Veale Entrepreneurs and Academic Scholars travelled to Dearborn, Michigan, courtesy of the Veale Foundation grant to Beaumont. The girls began the day at the Ford River Rouge Plant in the Legacy Theater where they viewed a short film highlighting Henry Ford’s vision for the Rouge Factory. Completely reimagined, the factory has become a model of 21st-century sustainable design and showcases how community, business and the environment can thrive together in a single environment.
One of the top Rouge attractions is the walking tour of the Dearborn F-150 Truck Plant. The elevated walkway, a 1/3 mile journey, provides a unique bird’s-eye view of the plant’s final assembly line. The girls witnessed the complex web of equipment, robotics, parts delivery and skilled workers that come together to build one truck per minute at full line speeds.
Of all the innovations coming out of the revitalization of the Rouge plant, perhaps the most famous is the “Living Roof” now growing on top of the new Dearborn Truck Plant final assembly building. Planted with a drought-resistant groundcover called sedum, the Living Roof spans10.4 acres and is one of the largest living roofs in the world. Offering many advantages over conventional tar and metal roofs, the sedum plants grow in a four-layer, vegetated mat, rather than in loose soil. The plants collect and filter storm water runoff, providing cleaner storm water, cooler surroundings, longer roof life, and a lightweight design.
Following the factory tour, the group visited the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. The museum traces the history of the automobile and our fascination with it, along with other American inventions. Highlights included such memorabilia as the rocking chair Abraham Lincoln sat in when he was assassinated and the limousine in which John F. Kennedy was shot. Additionally, the collection includes the famous Rosa Parks bus, George Washington’s camp bed, the first car Henry Ford made in 1896, and Buckminster Fuller’s home of the future, the Dymaxion House.