To the Editor:
I read with great interest Lindsay Chappell's column on Saturn.
I had the pleasure of visiting Spring Hill four times and participating in the experiential learning program provided by Saturn Outside Services.
Over my 30 years of working for Oldsmobile Division and becoming a dealer, I have met a select few leaders who inspired me. First was John Beltz; then came Joe Sanchez, John Rock and Skip LeFauve.
Rock took us to Spring Hill as the team of dealers and wholesale employees tried to reinvent Oldsmobile. Skip addressed us at our first meeting. That moment was one I will never forget.
Immediately, you knew Skip was something different. He spoke with so much passion and seemingly straight from the heart. He helped set the stage for a time in my life that will forever be etched in my mind.
The program Saturn used to help change the culture within the industry was something that I believe all its employees and dealers participated in. I watched in amazement how some people seemed to change before my eyes and make life-altering adjustments in their behavior.
Through genuine tears and laughter, we all seemed to get it. The program afforded me a great opportunity for personal growth. I know of many people that had their lives drastically changed by the experience.
Saturn may have dissolved into failure in a quest to change the culture within GM and its dealer body, but Saturn did succeed with many individuals.
It is a legacy that will live a long time.
I have mixed feelings about Saturn the manufacturer. Not only is Tinkerbell dead, but she has been replaced by numerous people who are content to ride out the future doing the same old thing.
I have little hope that GM will ever produce a Rock, Sanchez, Beltz or LeFauve again. Sad.
Editor's note: John Beltz was a general manager of Oldsmobile; he died in 1972. Joseph Sanchez was a general manager of Oldsmobile, then the first president of Saturn Corp.; he died in 1985. John Rock is the former general manager of Oldsmobile.