Corporate Business,Jeep,Manufacturing | January 15 2020

Evergreen tree atop FCA’s new Detroit plant carries on centuries-old tradition

Ironworkers recently raised an evergreen tree to top off the steel framework of the paint shop being built as part of a $1.6 billion investment to construct a new assembly plant on Detroit’s eastside.

FCA raised a Christmas tree to “top off” the new paint shop being built as part of a $1.6 billion investment to construct a new assembly plant on Detroit’s eastside.

While most recognize the evergreen tree as a classic symbol of the holiday season, for the ironworkers who spent exactly four months assembling 6,500 tons of structural steel into the paint shop’s framework, it means something very different.

The long-standing tradition of raising an evergreen tree – or construction tree as it is also known – marks the placement of the highest beam or structural element of a building.

It also symbolizes that the construction milestone was reached safely and without serious injury.

“In ancient times, the tree was an announcement to the community to come and celebrate the completion of the new building, a tradition that is continued today,” said Joseph Panyard, FCA Project Manager for the new Detroit paint shop. “The last piece of steel for our project was painted white and signed by all of the ironworkers who have worked tirelessly on this project.”

FCA raised a Christmas tree to “top off” the new paint shop being built as part of a $1.6 billion investment to construct a new assembly plant on Detroit’s eastside.

In February, FCA announced the investment to build the first new assembly plant in Detroit in nearly 30 years, bringing 3,850 new jobs to the city. The new plant will produce the next-generation Jeep® Grand Cherokee and all-new, three-row, full-size Jeep SUV, along with their electrified models.

Edward Cardenas

Hello from the Motor City! I’m Edward Cardenas and I’m multimedia editor for FCA US. As a lifelong Detroiter, I have been surrounded by the automotive industry. I’ve had members of my immediate and extended family work in the industry. I’ve covered it as a journalist and advocated for it
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Hello from the Motor City! I’m Edward Cardenas and I’m multimedia editor for FCA US. As a lifelong Detroiter, I have been surrounded by the automotive industry. I’ve had members of my immediate and extended family work in the industry. I’ve covered it as a journalist and advocated for it as a communications professional. I have also experienced the thrills of the industry while riding in a race car at nearly 200 miles per hour. Having this breadth of experience, I look forward to drawing upon my experiences to bring a wide range of stories, photos and videos about Chrysler, FIAT and Alfa Romeo to FCA Digital Media. When I’m not covering my brands, I’m spending time with my wife and two boys.