In the midst of farm fields that go on for miles, Decherd, Tennessee, became Nissan's U.S. center for advanced engines and eMotors, powering the all-electric Nissan Leaf, Rogue, Frontier, Infinity QX60, and more.
Decherd's powertrains may be the heart of Nissan and INFINITI products across America. But the operations are powered by the people of Middle Tennessee – more than 2,000 team members who have proudly engineered and manufactured nearly 16-million engines and eMotors. Members like Tony Patterson, a 20-year employee who came to Nissan right at the cusp of the company's transformation, have helped pave the way for just one of many multigenerational Nissan Decherd stories.
Drawn to Nissan Decherd for its culture, people and job opportunities, Patterson first joined Nissan in machining quality, while also studying to earn his engineering degree. Since then, his father and two sons have also found a work home at Nissan Decherd.
Don Patterson, Tony's father, hired into Nissan as a technician on the line and continued his career as a quality supervisor until his recent retirement in 2021. While they became passionate about powertrains, the Patterson family has another passion – one they weren't willing to give up – farming.
Tony Patterson worked during the week, and Don took care of the family farms – a local business with beef cattle serving Middle Tennessee counties. They swapped roles over the weekend, with Don supporting powertrain assembly and Tony tending to the land."
Farming pushes you to think on your feet, troubleshoot to identify the issue and create a solution quickly," said Tony Patterson. "The same can be said about powertrain engineering and manufacturing. In the same way that we may have to figure out machining to bail hay before it rains, we also have to determine why a particular piece of equipment isn't building the parts we need to meet production schedules."
The Patterson family put their farming skills to work. They were part of – and even helped lead – many company milestones that make Nissan Decherd what it is today. In 2007, Nissan created in-house casting and forging operations – making it the first full-service engine assembly plant in North America. Tony led quality for both, ensuring the launches were successful.
And, the excitement was contagious. In 2018, two great moments mark Nissan Decherd's history. Tony Patterson II joined Nissan as a new-model-machining engineer in the midst of a major assembly launch for the plant. Jake Patterson, Tony's youngest son, spent the summer of 2019 as an assembly engineer.
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