USMCA Passes Senate, New North American Trade Deal Moves to President

Last week the critical trade pact between the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) passed through the United States Senate, the final hurdle before being sent to the President’s desk for enactment. The USMCA will have a disproportionately positive impact on the state of Michigan and its key industries, especially automotive and manufacturing.

MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber have been an active advocate in the national media, to federal officials, and in communication with the White House and key industry leaders to share the criticality of the USMCA to the state and nation’s economy. MICHauto and the Chamber strongly applaud U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters for their effort to improve USMCA and their “yes” votes supporting the agreement.

Thank you to our coalition of 50+ statewide businesses and employer organizations for continued support, our partners at MEMA for coordinating legislative fly-ins to Washington, D.C. where we were on the ground driving our message, and to our members of Congress of both parties statewide for this historic agreement.

The new rules of origin in the USMCA will ensure that more goods and materials will be manufactured in the U.S. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the impact of the new “Rules of Origin” will also significantly benefit the automotive industry and its workforce, estimating $34 billion in new investments, $23 billion in new auto parts purchasing, and creating 76,000 new automotive jobs over five years.

The approval of the USMCA provides U.S. businesses the certainty they need to continue economically beneficial investments dependent on access to Canadian and Mexican markets. This is a huge win for our state and our industry.





Glenn Stevens Jr.
Executive Director, MICHauto; Vice President, Automotive and Mobility Initiatives,
Detroit Regional Chamber

Ford’s Darren Palmer to Talk EV Advancements in Keynote Address at 2020 MICHauto Summit

On the heels of Ford Motor Company’s launch of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV – its first all-electric Mustang – Global Director of Battery Electric Vehicles Product Development Darren Palmer will share the latest developments and impacts of electrification on the automotive and mobility industry’s future.

Palmer will provide expert insight on how the industry landscape continues to transform amid the emergence of more connected, automated, and electric vehicles.

View the full list of sessions planned for the 2020 MICHauto Summit: Leading the Global Mobility Revolution on Tuesday, Feb. 25, and register today.

MICHauto Advocated for Good Jobs and a Stronger Auto Industry in 2019

As the end of 2019 neared, MICHauto had a pulse on the industry’s top priorities as policy decisions were made. A few top issues addressed include:

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
MICHauto continued its support of the USMCA, coordinating a coalition letter from statewide industry leaders and meeting with Congressional legislators in Washington to advocate USMCA’s passage in the U.S. House of Representatives. Read more about the USMCA. 

Good Jobs for Michigan
MICHauto joined economic development organizations from across the state in support of Senate Bill 492, which would extend the Good Jobs for Michigan program and continue providing a critical tool to grow better-paying jobs and the state’s economy while supporting healthier, stronger communities. MICHauto will continue its advocacy of this crucial program during the 2020 legislative session.

Criminalization of Fraudulent Installation of Counterfeit or Defective Airbags
MICHauto’s Jason Puscas provided committee testimony in support of House Bill 4923-24 to ensure that working airbags are properly installed in consumer vehicles. This legislation will strengthen Michigan’s criminal code to enable prosecution against fraud to safeguard the lives of Michigan residents and support the hard work of reputable suppliers and repair facilities.

Senate Bill Addresses a Discrepancy in Statute with Switch-Related Data Center Tax Incentives
MICHauto joined Switch in the House of Representatives testifying in support of Senate Bill 455, which would clarify Michigan statute to provide full abatement of property taxes and associated levies on qualifying data center equipment. Switch, with MICHauto’s support, hopes to maintain Michigan’s competitive tax climate with surrounding states, creating jobs and encouraging capital investment in Michigan.

Discover Auto Tours Continue to Connect Students with Industry Leaders

Last month, MICHauto hosted two Discover Auto tours, connecting 35 students from Cesar Chavez Academy with DENSO International America Inc. and 19 students from Livonia Stevenson with IAV Automotive Engineering Inc.

The student groups received the unique opportunity to visit the organizations’ facilities, witnessing industry innovation first-hand and getting an up-close look at what careers in the automotive and mobility industry have to offer.

In addition to touring the facilities, the students received engaging presentations from the host companies. Students visiting from Cesar Chavez Academy heard from Melissa Smith, community affairs lead at DENSO, and those from Livonia Stevenson from Pia Shah, executive assistant at IAV, about career development and the possibilities for students like them within the industry. Following those presentations, the students got to mingle and interact with those already working in the industry during mixers with the teams.

Staff from Cesar Chavez Academy acknowledged how vital this exposure to career opportunities is, showcasing for students the variety opportunities available to them to have a successful future. Livonia Stevenson sent students from its Project Lead the Way (PLTW) – Computer Science Principals and automotive classes. The group brought diverse and thoughtful questions to their tour at IAV, demonstrating Discover Auto’s ability to inspire curiosity in students.

MICHauto looks forward to future Discover Auto tours in 2020 and providing more students with the chance to learn about the promising and diverse career paths available to them in the automotive and mobility industry.

Jatinder-Bir “Jay” Sandhu


Jatinder-Bir “Jay” Sandhu serves as the CEO of NYX, LLC Sandhu is a senior executive with more than 30 years in the automotive supplier sector. Sandhu started his career at NYX, LLC in 1989 as a production manager followed by a stint as plant manager of NYX – Schoolcraft. Sandhu manages the operations of 11 facilities and 4300 employees.

Sandhu served as chief financial officer of NYX for 12 years. During his tenure as chief financial officer, NYX successfully completed and integrated eight acquisitions. He has played a key role in developing and implementing NYX’s product strategy, operating systems, and management culture during its growth from a $2 million business in 1989 to a $650 million enterprise in 2019.

Sandhu graduated with honor in physics and biology from Butler University and with an MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy. Currently, Sandhu serves as chairman of the board for the Butler University board of trustees.

Glenn Stevens Jr.

Executive Director, MICHauto and Vice President, Automotive & Mobility Initiatives

Glenn Stevens is the executive director of MICHauto and serves as the Detroit Regional Chamber’s vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives. In this role, Stevens provides strategic direction and leadership to the MICHauto program in its efforts to promote, grow and retain Michigan’s automotive and next-generation mobility industries. MICHauto is a statewide industry association focused on developing the state’s automotive and mobility industry in the key areas of: talent and education, advocacy, industry awareness, mobility and the startup ecosystem.

Stevens has more than 25 years of management, strategy and operation experience across the automotive, mobility, steel, specialty chemicals, and capital equipment industries. Prior to joining the Chamber, Stevens served as senior vice president of membership and sales with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, where he was responsible for membership growth and retention, strategic partnerships, and automotive industry development with states across the nation. Additionally, his previous experience includes leadership positions with Blue Water Automotive Systems, Kolene Corp., and National Steel Corp.

Stevens serves on the Governor’s State of Michigan Mobility Leadership Steering Committee and leads the Detroit Mobility Solutions Coalition. Additionally, he currently serves on the board of Team 1 Plastics, the board of the Michigan State University Broad Executive Forum and serves on the Executive Planning Committee of the FIRST Robotics Championship. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and an executive MBA from Michigan State University. Glenn Stevens can be contacted by email at

Bryan Salesky

CEO and Co-founder, Argo AI

Bryan Salesky is CEO and co-founder of Argo AI, which formed in 2016 to build self-driving technology to provide a safer, more affordable, and accessible way for people to get around. Salesky is passionate about incorporating promising robotics technology into products and systems that will improve safety and productivity while enhancing people’s lives.

Before Argo AI, Salesky joined the Google self-driving car team in 2011 to continue to push toward making self-driving cars a reality. While at Google, Salesky was responsible for the development and manufacture of Google’s hardware portfolio which included self-driving sensors, computers, and several vehicle development programs.

While at Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC), Salesky managed a portfolio of the center’s largest commercial programs, including autonomous mining trucks for Caterpillar. In 2007, Salesky led software engineering for Tartan Racing, Carnegie Mellon’s winning entry in the DARPA Urban Challenge. Salesky graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering.

Michael Robinet

Executive Director, Automotive Advisory Services, IHS Markit

Michael Robinet is a senior leader and executive director within the IHS Markit automotive consulting practice based in Detroit. He is a renowned expert on supplier competitiveness, structural change, and market impact issues.

Robinet has previously functioned as managing director leading success with the North American Advisory Group. He also served as the director of global vehicle forecasts for IHS Automotive, growing this to be the most influential industry forecast.

Robinet is a board member of the Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA), Automotive Hall of Fame, and Canada-US Business Association (CUSBA). He was named a “Top Ten Global Supplier Influencer” by Bianchi Public Relations in 2018. Robinet holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics, and an MBA in finance.

Darren Palmer

Global Director, Battery Electric Vehicles Product Development, Ford Motor Company

Darren Palmer is the Global Product Development Director for Battery Electric Vehicles at Ford Motor Company. He heads the electric cars division for product development as part of Team Edison, which is a company within a company, introduced to accelerate global development using a design thinking approach. The first product resulting from his new approach is the Mustang Mach-E.

Since joining Ford, Palmer has gained experience in global vehicle development having held positions in product development, product planning, and manufacturing and quality. Palmer attended Birmingham University and holds an MBA from Henley Management College. He is a member of the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET).

Christopher O’Connor

President and CEO, Humanetics Innovative Solutions Inc.

As President and CEO, Christopher O’Connor has significantly grown Humanetics Innovative Solutions Inc. By strategically expanding the company’s product portfolio and its global footprint. Historically known as the leading manufacturer of the crash test dummy, Humanetics is now a leader in a wide variety of vehicle safety testing systems, precision sensors and optical fiber and laser solutions, with over 850 employees across 24 international locations.

Prior to Humanetics, O’Connor was president and CEO for multiple private equity-backed technology companies. He held senior leadership positions at TRW Inc. (now ZF Friedrichshafen AG), Martin Marietta, and General Electric. In addition, O’Connor is a retired colonel from the U.S. Army.

O’Connor received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and Master of Science in mechanical and manufacturing engineering from Syracuse University. He is a graduate of the GE Advance Course, GE Crotonville Course, U.S. Army Command, and General Staff College, and has completed executive management courses at Harvard and the University of Michigan.