From a hot and sweaty tin shed with dirt floors to a spanking new air-conditioned building with gas-heated floors, Ken “Beetle” Bailey has sure seen some changes in 50 years of service at Baker Motors.
As a fresh apprentice mechanic in 1963 at age 16, he was said to be a bit of a wild child.
True, he once crashed a police vehicle during a test drive, but he never took this side of himself to work, and moved into management after 20 years.
Baker Motors yesterday honoured him with a morning tea and he recalled the good times, and one or two bad ones — like when maggots fell on him while he was working on a truck.
But he’d made life-long friends and overseen 60 apprentices.
Mr Bailey and his wife, Sue, a Baker courtesy driver for the past 15 years, plan to retire mid-next year.
Director Martin Baker said Mr Bailey’s loyal service for half-a-century was historic as it was now rare for workers to stay on with a single business that long.
“As a family, we’re proud to have someone of Ken’s calibre on the staff for 50 years,” he said.