Driving lesson

Bringing home a message to my dad, and others, on Father’s Day

I wanted to write a letter to my dad for Father’s Day. At first I thought it would be personal. From me to him. A handwritten note, with a nice tie or a subscription to “Car & Driver” magazine.

But as I drove and thought (as a car guy, I like to do this to collect my thoughts), the more it felt right to share it more widely. With all the fathers, sons, daughters and mothers – especially those from families like mine who immigrated to Canada.

You see, my parents were from Lebanon and, like many of their generation, decided to seek a safer and more stable place to raise a family. So he and his wife came to Canada and settled in the country’s proud automotive capital: Windsor, Ont.

After a few years of running their own business, my parents realized that working long, 18-hour days together as entrepreneurs didn’t provide the stability they wanted for the family. Be there to play sports after school. To break bread at dinner time. To review homework together.

Fortunately, their choice to live in Windsor worked out. My father started working in the automotive industry, which was, and still is, the heart of this country’s economy.

My dad started to do double duty running his business with mom and working shifts at the Stellantis (then Chrysler) assembly plant in Windsor until we were in high school. Year after year, he made this sacrifice for his family. Month after month, he builds minivans. Day by day he provided for all of us. It was thanks to her salary, benefits, and job security that we were clothed, fed, and educated, while Mom went to every after-school event.

I know it now, but I didn’t know it then. Life is lived forward and understood backward after all. At the time, I was like most teenagers, who didn’t know the importance of a hard day’s work. But there was still dad, helping me learn this lesson in the best way possible. Encouraging me to get a job at Stellantis too, so I can pay for my college education.

So that’s exactly what I did.

To this day, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a temporary part-time worker alongside him. During those four years, I saw with my own eyes what kind of man he was. Respected by his peers. An expert in his profession. Generous towards others. Many times he showed me the right way to complete tasks.

My dad showed me how to give your employer a dime for his nickel. He showed me how to lead by example, be part of a community, learn to get better and faster at what you do, get extra training, and never, ever complain. He showed me that life is 90% about showing off. I looked at him and started to change. So I worked eight hours after going to class all day. Well, three times a week anyway.

I think back to those days of working together there, as truly special. Not only were we strengthening our bonds and creating memories, but we were also helping other Canadian families create theirs with the thousands of minivans we helped build.

Today, I’ve been trained to know how things are built as an engineer, and I’m proud to lead the Automotive Innovation Network of Ontario during my doctoral studies. I have two sisters, who are doctors and nurses. And I can’t say enough praise about my parents for their dedication and about the auto industry – an industry and a workforce that has been through a lot and is constantly changing to meet the demands of a changing economy. constant evolution.

Fortunately, things are on the rise again for cars and trucks in Ontario. Over the past 18 months we’ve seen $14 billion in investment, nearly every major auto plant in the province has pledged to retool and embrace the excitement and innovation that comes with movement electric vehicles. Share progress and prosperity with a whole new generation of families in Ontario.

Father. Thank you for everything you have shown me, taught me and given me. I’m so proud to be your son. I love you. And yes, the next volume of “Car & Driver” is in the mail.

Raed Kadri is the head of the Ontario Automotive Innovation Network.

Interested in a career in the automotive industry? To explore a variety of skills and careers for Ontario’s automotive and mobility sector, visit ovin-navigator.ca