Ha-Duc - former intern at Mercedes-Benz U.S International (08/2017- 02/2018)
Time to leave: From Herbrechtingen to Tuscaloosa, AL.
To take up new challenges and give new impetus to my personal development I left the Electric Vehicle Development in Sindelfingen and facing from now on its production. In the course of the automotive electrification it just makes sense for me being involved in an implementation of a new model. I've been always Mercedes powered and that since I was a small kid. Believing in the right company, learning and working for these guys were probably the best thing what can happen to me. Taking this journey is due to my previous Electric Vehicle Project and finally end up in the U.S. was Bob's special merit. So I moved to Tuscaloosa, AL. Home of MBUSI and the only place Daimler exclusively builds the Mercedes-Benz GLE (former ML), GLE Coupé, GLS and in future Electric Vehicles will be coming from the end of line.
Sweet Home Alabama: Living in Tuscaloosa, AL
It's a big difference living here and work or just to travel the United States. Living here brings a lot of opportunities and responsibilities. Doing tons of paperwork and learn about American bureaucracy is sometimes painful but I gained experience. Diving deep into U.S. culture, learning more about the people, diversity while earning money and immediately spending it on trips is something only a few of us did.
I had a very good time during my stay in Tuscaloosa on and off the job with my colleagues. I've never been excluded, always been treated like a real team member. Got invited to Bob's Christmas Party and getting a ham for Christmas means that he is taking care about his team members. That is more worth than cash or money.
Also meet these guys off the job for having dinner was very nice. Being in a private atmosphere, talking about non-related job stuff was for me the inclusion and a kind of cultural exchange. Rubel and I had a special dinner with Allison and her husband. A lovely household like in one of these American movies. They are living the all American dream. I would like to express a special thanks for the dinner, your effort you put in for the recommendation and the steps you've already undertaken in regards of my possible future! I really appreciate that and good things remain memorable.
With Brian and Patrick I always had fun during my stay but they also offered me their help if needed. They took to me special place to learn more about American culture. It is called Twin Peaks. Good guys, good times!
Man Tolga, we had some great times. He brought me to the airport, exchanged some last words and gave me some man hugs. Dude, I was confused, since I usually have a fight if I say goodbye to someone but not this time. We understand each other from the first day because we were both new. I am glad to have you as a colleague and friend. I will definitely miss the days we spent together. Send regards to your family, thanks for your dinner!
Tuscaloosa is nice place to stay and work. The plant is not far away, it's a pretty college town and it stays warm for a long time. Even in October it was still 29°C. Summer is a little bit too humid for my taste. It snowed once and the whole plant and city went crazy.
Game days are big events in Tuscaloosa. Tailgating, going to a game and cheering Alabama are must things to do in Tuscaloosa.
Mercedes-Benz U.S International, Inc.
08/21/2017 - First working day!
I saw several days my workplace in advance before I really started. Like every first working day it was a lot to see and get to know. My first Impression: Coming from R&D means from now on that I got to deal with a rougher playground. The Tuscaloosa Plant is huge! So that's why I used the bike to get around. My American/international colleagues were all nice. It was a very diverse work environment. That's probably why the called it Mercedes- Benz U.S. International Inc. A great surrounding atmosphere makes the workspace way better. They keep their motivation high-leveled by bringing very often food, cakes and any kind of doughnuts for sharing.
Especially in the first days my new supervisor Bob supported me, even when he was in Germany. Team Gambrell is well-balanced. I had experienced colleagues and new ones.
In my first month I got trained by Daniel and Patrick with all KSP related things in A2 before I switched my workplace into A1. Daniel is high skilled, a very detailed guy and an expert in KSPs. Patrick is probably the best FAPLIS Trainer you can have in Tuscaloosa. With everything what I've learned in that short time I moved to A1 and adopt.
I worked very close with my colleague Spencer and Jay for KSPs. Good guys. He's actually just one year older than me but way more experienced. It's insane how professional he works. Overall these guys are all easygoing.
02/16/18 - Last working day!
Since it was my last week I really felt sad about leaving at the end of the week. I had the time of my life here in the U.S. Without Daimler, I would never had the chance to come to the U.S. to work, gain experience and grow professionally. I came from the core of R&D but now I really appreciate the hard work of every single team member on the line and engineer who's dealing with production engineering. Seeing that these guys are doing a great job in terms of implementation makes me feel so relieved that the upcoming EQ series are in good hands. Hearing that Daimler expands their operations and invests $1 Billion for EVs makes me also glad to know that the future in Alabama will be bright. Seems like a cutting-edge technology and groundbreaking innovations can also be located in Alabama and not just in California. However, I am excited to see the ramp up of the EQ cars and the first EQ vehicle will be produced here in AL.
West Coast Road Trip
I had an epic road trip started in San Francisco, drove all the way down to Los Angeles and headed east to Las Vegas. I spent 2 weeks for this trip and I've seen so much during this time. Got a 205/C-Class Sedan for my road trip, which was very cool because I had so much to do with this car during my time in Tuscaloosa, AL. but I've never driven one in the U.S. By the way, I really like this car and it was the perfect companion for this trip.
I remember back in the days when I couldn't effort any trips to the U.S. (or anywhere else because I was broke as student. All the money I've earned was immediately spent on my rent) but I played videogames based on California and finally making it to California was a huge thing for me. If Daimler never hired me I would probably still dreaming. I am so thankful for being a part of Daimler.
Driving on Highway 1 was probably the most amazing ride I've ever had. You drive so close along the coast, combined with fine weather and winding roads. There's the thing, check this out: The steering, struts and suspension of the 205 are made for this roads. It feels incredibly smooth in your hands and it is not bumpy at all. I can't imagine cruising this road with a stiff sports car. The 205 was floating over the streets, having the Mercedes typical comfort combined with an amazing scenic view makes it to a very special moment in my life. That was an unforgettable drive. One day I will come back and hit the same road again with a Mercedes 300SL and my wife as passenger.
Alright guys party is over. I had an amazing time in the U.S. Probably the best time of my life so far, even though I had to sacrifice a lot. But it was still a very intense time, had so much fun hanging around with these guys and it was a pleasure to run Assembly 1 and Assembly 2.
Staying at the airport and leaving the U.S. with a lot of memories gives me a weird feeling. While writing these sentences means that reality hits me hard right now. Lived the dream, woke up and realize it's all over... man... I already start to miss these times, friends, colleagues, Alabama and the U.S. But I can't say I wish I've done more in this timeframe, because I did everything I wanted and even more. Thank you guys for the memories!
Thanks to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. and Daimler AG which have been always fulfilling my personal dreams and being a partner. I really appreciate that you guys believed in me, hired me and trusted in my abilities.
Also a big thank you to the young ladies at the HR Department who was taking care about every single detail for a smooth working experience in the U.S. From the very first moment every concern has been well addressed by the HR.
I wish Alabama nothing but the best and I hope to welcome you guys one day in Sindelfingen or in Stuttgart!