Issue: May 2006


Seventh Annual Global Automotive Conference a Dynamic Success



by Emily Blaker

Members of the automotive industry gathered at the Seventh Annual Global Automotive Conference held April 10-13, 2006 at the Griffin Gate Marriott Hotel and Resort. The theme for this year was Shift Gears, Accelerate Change, and Drive Success, this involved a daily theme of Challenges, Strategies, and Solutions.

Monday, April 10, 2006: Attendees from around the world met at Kentucky Community and Technical College Systems Center for Excellence in Automotive Manufacturing. There they discussed new innovations in automotive manufacturing from designing the cars to putting them together. It was a leadership forum to discuss the differences between the United States and how they design, manage, and manufacture cars and trucks in other countries.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006: Phil Martens President and COO, Plastech, Steve St. Angelo, Executive Vice-President of Manufacturing, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky and Chris Theodore, Vice Chairman, American Specialty Cars kicked off the first full day of the Seventh Annual Global Automotive Conference by discussing the challenges the industry faces today.

Further discussion took place during the featured panel presentation moderated by Rich Iler, Managing Director, Sustainable Solutions Group, LLC. during which senior level executives from various companies participated. Questions were addressed from the attendees regarding their comments about the challenges the automotive industry is facing.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006: The days’ opening presentations were made by Nancy Bacon, Senior Vice-President, Energy Conversion Devices, and Chris Karbowiak, Bridgestone Americas, mostly focused on the solutions surrounding the challenges.

Anne Stevens, Executive Vice President and COO the America’s, Ford Motor Company, spoke about restructuring, and creative design within Ford Motor Company in dealing with economical challenges. Her ideas about the solutions to the rising gas prices and the challenges of engineering more economical trucks and sport utility vehicles are on the cutting edge. She is currently working on these projects with Ford Motor Company’s leading engineers.

Governor of Kentucky, Ernie Fletcher spoke at his luncheon, agreeing with Anne Stevens’ remarks about the industry, and offering Kentucky as a responsive and business friendly place to root the changes that are needed to make the car industry healthy.

Several workshops on many diverse subjects took place regarding the automotive industry including Supplier Diversity, Kaizen Training, Labor relations, Leadership and more were presented as small breakout groups throughout the afternoon.

The Leadership Award Reception was a success as William Parsons, managing director of the Global Advanced-Leadership Center awarded Ford Motor Company the O.E. Sustaining Support Award, and the Sustaining Founder Award went to Will Cooksey, General manager, GM Corvette of Cadillac Manufacturing. Former Governor Martha Layne Collins, spoke about her role in bringing the automotive industry into Kentucky. Ian Browde, Director of Strategy and Business Development, Enterprise Solutions Division, Nokia spoke about personal leadership and career development.


Thursday, April 13, 2006: Opening comments were made by Peter Skarzynski, CEO, Strategos and Scott Paradise, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing and New Business Development, Magna International discussing the strategies that could be put into effect throughout the automotive industry. The panel presentation moderated by Dr. Peter Frise, Professor, University of Windsor and was comprised of some of the best designing minds in the automotive business that voiced their performance and excitement vehicle ideas for the future.

A large part of the Global Automotive Conference was the Minority Business matchmaking event held for two afternoons. More than 50 companies participated in the matchmaking event and is forecasted to be even larger for Global Automotive Conference 2007.

In addition the Global Automotive Conference provided two opportunities to tour both Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky and American Specialty Cars, of Georgetown, Kentucky. The plant tours took attendees through the plants explaining how each respective plant operated at a lean manufacturing level.

With over 350 attendees and a successful four days of brainstorming and automotive industry development the Seventh Annual Global Automotive Conference was not only a success, but also the largest ever!

The Global Automotive Conference is hosted annually by the Global Advanced-Leadership Center, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Visit www.gac.ky.net for more information


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