Jackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream announced the official retirement of B2B Project Manager Larry Metz, who stepped aside on Aug. 12, exactly 56 years to the day from when he joined the company. Having occupied numerous positions within the company in his time there, Metz is the longest tenured Airstream associate in the company’s history.
“Larry’s career at Airstream is something we all can aspire to,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler. “Nobody understood better than Larry that an Airstream isn’t a cookie cutter product. Five decades of experience informed everything he did, and he was always quick to share that experience with all of us. He was always focused on the future and how he could best contribute to building the best product possible.”
Metz began his employment at Airstream after graduating from Jackson Center High School, just down the street from the company’s headquarters. He started his career on the production line, building roofs and end-cap shells, installing insulation, and working in the woodshop building cabinetry. His career path took him to the service department and eventually to managing Airstream’s commercial division. Along the way, Metz was called up for duty in the Vietnam War and spent 15 months overseas working as a wrecker operator collecting broken equipment for shipment back to the U.S.
Metz credits his early days of employment for helping to shape him personally and professionally. Drawing on the deep knowledge of the Airstream product and customer base he developed over his years of experience across the country prepared him for one of his proudest accomplishments – developing Airstream’s commercial department over the course of 40 years. More recently, Metz has orchestrated partnerships and one-off commercial projects with global brands, iconic American heritage companies, and local organizations. He was instrumental in bringing the original NASA Astrovan to life in the early 1980s, and he’s watched as Airstream has evolved over the years into the iconic brand it is today.
“His experience, his friendliness, and his willingness to take on projects no matter how big or small made Larry an inspiration for everyone here at Airstream,” said Airstream vice president of sales, Justin Humphreys. “Larry was able to cultivate relationships with our suppliers, vendors, and Airstream owners that consistently improved the Airstream product and served our customers well. He will be sorely missed, but we wish him the best in this new phase of his career. Airstream is a better company as a result of Larry Metz working here.”
Added Metz, “Now that I have time to reflect back, it’s easy to see that I was blessed to have good health to work so long, and to work with the greatest associates in the world. Airstream really made me who I am, and I will always have the memories of all my friends and everything we accomplished along the way.”
Metz said he plans to tackle some home improvement projects and spend more time out on the golf course.