At an age when most executives are happy to rest on their rung of the corporate ladder, Alan Jones wanted to change ladders.
Seven years ago, at age 49, Jones left his life-long employer, General Motors, for Toyota. He was named plant manager of Toyota's first factory in Europe - in Burnaston, Derbyshire, in the UK.
Jones left the familiarity of GM to learn the Toyota Production System. He found that he had pretty much practiced Japanese management principles all along.
'Each job in its time was good,' he said. 'But at 49, I wanted to do something different, and starting up with Toyota on its first plant in Europe was that opportunity.
'I felt my views on training and development of people would fit in and they did. I like to watch people step up a gear and become capable of more than they had been given credit for.'
The 2,000 manufacturing employees at Burnaston include many who had never worked in an auto plant before.
But Jones has faith in people. It reflects his own experience.
A native of Luton, UK, Jones joined Vauxhall in 1957 as an apprentice. He had little formal education and worked his way up.
Early in his career he spent time working with GM's Pontiac Division in the USA. Pontiac was interested in building a foundry in Europe and Jones' job was to help plan it. The project was cancelled, but Jones learned a lot.
'At that time you went there to see how GM works,' he said.
Jones returned to Vauxhall in 1966 as a process engineer. He became accredited as an engineer through on-the-job experience and company training. He worked his way up to the job of running the Ellsmere Port, UK, factory that built the Astra.
He joined Toyota in January 1990, and this year he watched over the plant's first changeover, to the Carina E replacement now in pilot production.
When not working, Jones likes to go on long walks with his wife, Mary, in the Derbyshire countryside.
They bought a large old farm, which they have partially transformed into a garden.
'I provide the manual labor and she the creativity,' he said.
He has some dreams to chase - like driving a car other than one his plant produces. An old Bristol or Bentley from the 1950s or 1960s would be nice.
But Jones is not thinking about retirement.
'I came here quite late and my intention is to stay as long as I believe I can contribute.'
The Toyota job gave Jones renewed energy.
'A new job makes you stop and think,' he said. 'You stop running on automatic pilot and believing that everything you've always believed is true.'