The smoke on a cold diesel is totally normal. It's a function of the combustion process at cold temperatures. It is typically white and is called.....white smoke....not to be confused with blue smoke from oil or black smoke from too much fuel. I always use winter blend fuel if I am going to be using the truck in the winter and have never had a problem. The blocking point is typically in the filter. The parafin in the fuel coagulates in colder temperatures and the molecules become to large to pass through the filter. That is why the trucks will run for a while before they stop....it can take a while for the filter to become clogged enough to stop the engine. You may notice it will idle but has no power.
Audacity.....it's interesting you work for Ford and would actually tell people who own them to take the filter out and crank the engine.......major league wrong thing to do. The injectors on those things are very sensitive to contamination and the potential of getting a 4 or 5 micron particle in them can cause serious....expensive.... repairs.
Not that I am an expert.....it's just my $0.02