Mercedes, Governer Bentley, Coach Nick Saban and a Speed Painter

About a month ago, my friend Butch Dill asked me to photograph an event at Mercedes of Alabama with him as his second shooter. I’ve known Butch since I was in high school, so it’s fun to occasionally get to work together. He shoots national events for the Associated Press (AP) and is an amazing sports shooter. You’ve probably seen alot of his Alabama football images in magazines and newspapers all over the nation. I’m a teeny bit jealous he’s gotten to shoot the Crimson Tide in their National Championship games.

The Mercedes-Benz U.S. International annual meeting was held at the MBUSI plant in Vance, near Tuscaloosa. It was time to bid farewell to the current CEO Markus Schaefer, who was returning to Germany, and welcome his successor, Jason Hoff. As you’ll see below, it was a change to the driver steering the wheel. In addition to the SUVs the plant has been producing, this year it will begin producing the C-Class and a fifth unnamed vehicle. Governor Robert Bentley and The University of Alabama’s head football coach, Nick Saban spoke to the approximately 3,000 employees in attendance. Nick’s speech didn’t disappoint, and it felt very much like a pep talk from a coach to his team, encouraging the Mercedes employees to keep doing a great job that benefits them personally, MBUSI, the community and the state of Alabama.

I learned alot about Mercedes and enjoyed watching the large video screens showing the entire manufacturing process from the point of view of a GoPro camera mounted inside the vehicle. Pretty fascinating! Another highlight for me was the speed painter that completed an entire painting within 5 minutes, while music was blaring in the background. No one knew what he was painting until about the last minute of his work.

A big thanks to Butch for inviting me along! I had a great time getting an insider’s view of Mercedes-Benz.

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