Ford honors local worker

A Wapakoneta resident is representing North America, as he was selected as the recipient of a prestigious award from Ford Motor Company.

Ryan Kelly was named “Health and Safety Professional of the Year” for North America.

“It’s a huge honor to even be considered and being selected is very rewarding,” Kelly said.

The world headquarters of Ford Motor Co., in Dearborn, Mich., recently announced the 2012 President’s Health and Safety Awards. These awards honor outstanding achievements at Ford plants worldwide.

Kelly has worked for Ford Motor Co. for 14 years. During these years, he has worked at two plants in Michigan, one in Tennessee and one in Cleveland before moving to Wapakoneta to work at the Lima Engine Plant. He has been working here for the past 18 months.

Kelly is originally from Highland Township, Mich., where he was an on-call firefighter for Highland Township Fire Department and he also served as a reserve (auxiliary) police officer in Milford, Mich.

This lead to his career in safety.

“Safety is first and foremost,” Kelly said. “It’s about watching out for your own safety, as well as that of your co-workers. We want everyone to go home in the same condition they came in. Our first priority will always be the safety and well-being of all of our employees.”

Kelly earned an associate’s degree in fire science from Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills, Mich., and then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in fire and safety engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

Kelly’s career with Ford began as a security and fire officer at Livonia, Mich., at the Ford Motor Co.’s transmission plant, and over the years, he has worked his way up, as he currently holds the position as senior safety engineer at Ford Motor Co. Lima Engine Plant. His daily tasks include overseeing all the health and safety programs at the plant, along with other duties.

To be named the “Health and Safety Professional of the Year” for 2012, Kelly was nominated by his current manager, past managers, a regional director and fellow safety engineers, who all wrote letters of recommendation.

“I didn’t know they were doing this,” Kelly said. “Two managers told me they were coming down to do an audit in February, and that’s when I found out.”

The honor is voted on by a panel of Kelly’s peers, so he said that this is a great achievement.

“It’s a cumulative award, so they looked at all my years at Ford,” Kelly said. “And then the peer group reviews the nominations and then votes.”

He said he feels especially honored, as his peer group choose him.

Kelly will be recognized at a special ceremony later in the month, and there will be a running plaque with his name on it hung up in the lobby of the world headquarters of Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich.

Kelly lives in Wapakoneta with his wife, Tracy.