This year, we’re marking 50 years of Range Rover by telling your stories from five decades of our landmark SUV at Solihull. Linda Smitten, started off her career at Solihull and over 30 years later, she’ll be marking her 50th birthday along with her old friend - Range Rover.
Linda can remember the day she started at Land Rover as if it was yesterday. “July 18th 1988 was a Monday and I can remember the butterflies as I walked through the gates on Lode Lane. I was about to become an adult and start my first proper job.” Over 30 years on, Linda hasn’t looked back and certainly wouldn’t have known the journey she was about to embark on.
During the summer of 1988, Linda helped establish the first computer training centre at Solihull. She explained, “Computers were just starting to become more widely used in most offices and we had great fun teaching Solihull colleagues how to use them. I find it amazing to see the amount of technology in our latest Range Rovers and it always makes me think back to when we started using computers for the first time. It’s staggering how far we have come.”
After a stint in HR admin, Linda started a new job looking after the apprenticeship scheme at Solihull. “Along with Defender and Discovery, the majority of our apprentices went on to work on Range Rover in some way, shape or form. It was then I really developed an affinity for Range Rover, and a love for the vehicles.”
Linda is now part of the Material Planning & Logistics team, and a few years ago, she stepped away from Solihull for the first time in her career. Linda continued, “I was asked to take on a job looking at Logistics for future models at Gaydon and Castle Brom. It was strange moving away from Solihull but every time I see a Range Rover on the road, I always smile and it makes me think of my spiritual home at Solihull.”
Range Rover and Solihull runs in the Smitten family’s DNA. It was during a Range Rover Logistics meeting in 1998, Linda met her future husband. Linda commented, “I got to know Nigel a lot more through working in the same area. We’d grown up on the same road in Solihull as each other but never really spoke. He asked me out for a drink and the rest is history, including our two wonderful daughters; Laura and Natasha.”
This year, Linda, as well as Range Rover will be marking their 50th birthdays. We asked Linda what it was like to share a birthday with the Solihull legend. Linda explained, “When you look back at it, Solihull and Range Rover has given me the opportunity to have a family and provide the good things in life for them. Whenever I see a Range Rover, I look back on what’s been and it fills me with pride. Happy birthday Range Rover!”
Like Linda, some of you will be celebrating your 50th birthday this year. We want to wish you a happy birthday. You may also have a Range Rover story you want to share. Let us know by sending us a message at Solihull@jlr-colleaguecommunications.com.
"Whenever I see a Range Rover, I look back on what’s been and it fills me with pride!”