Mack manager heading to Spain

December 14, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Olivier J. Vidal is leaving his job as Mack Trucks plant manager in Hagerstown to take a management position in a new joint venture of Mack's parent company, Renault V.I., and Iveco, a Fiat Group company.

Vidal, 39, said he will be executive vice president for quality and service for the new company, Irbus. The company's headquarters will be in Barcelona, Spain.

He'll leave Jan. 4 for the new post, he said.

A successor has not been named for the Hagerstown powertrain plant, according to Mack corporate spokesman John Mies.

Andre Morel, Mack's executive vice president of manufacturing, will likely manage the plant in the interim, Mies said.

Plant employees were told of Vidal's departure in November, he said.

Vidal's departure is not expected to result in changes in the plant's operations, Mies said.

Vidal, a native of France, came to the Hagerstown plant as assistant to the general manager in August 1996.


He succeeded Ross Rhoads, long-time general manager of the Maugans Avenue facility, in Nov. 1, 1997.

Vidal earned degrees in engineering and finance in France and worked in various capacities for Renault V.I. before coming to Hagerstown.

He said he's proud of what the plant achieved in the time he has been there.

"It was two very exciting years in my life. The plant changed a lot in those two years," Vidal said.

There was a dramatic increase in capacity - from 115 engines a day to 175 to 185 engines a day, he said.

The plant introduced a new product, a fully electronic engine that passes emission standards, Vidal said.

Operations have become more efficient, he said.

New work rules were approved in the contract with the United Auto Workers union signed in July, Vidal said.

And there has been a lot of improvement in attitude, he said.

"Really, the plant now is in better shape to enter the 21st century," he said.

Living in Hagerstown has been beneficial to his children, ages 11 months, 5, 8, 10 and 12, Vidal said. His family will stay until the end of the school year, he said.

The children have become fluent in English, favoring it over French in relating their daily experiences, he said.

"They are real American kids now," Vidal said.

He said he feels his experience with Mack Trucks has expanded his world view, which will be beneficial in his role at Irbus.

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