Grow Detroit’s Young Talent App Showcase

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT), a citywide summer program led by the city of Detroit that trains and employs young adults who are residents of the city, in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, offered a unique opportunity to 30 participants to learn app design and coding. A team of Apple employees guided the young participants throughout the program as they learned how to build an app prototype that solved a local community challenge in the areas of hip hop, sustainable fashion, and mobility.

MICHauto presented the mobility challenge to the participants at the beginning of the summer: “how do we utilize existing forms of communication and create new ones that are tied together and enabled by the people?” At the showcase on Wednesday, Aug. 18, the participants presented their app prototypes to a panel of judges. A mobility app called Eye D took second place winning $500.

Eye D is an app designed for residents of urban areas to see and report any infrastructural issues in their communities. The goal is to bridge the gap between the public and elected officials and streamline communication about issues that could impact the modes of mobility around the city.

In the app, participants can report infrastructure problems directly to city officials, review other reports that have been filed, and message other users about their reports and provide support. To better understand who to direct reports to, there will also be a directory of city leaders with profiles that identify their departments or areas of expertise.

Throughout the program, students learned valuable coding and design skills that have prepared them for the next step in their career journey. However, in addition to the technical skills, the participants took away even more valuable and transferrable skills including problem-solving and collaboration.

As Marco Torres, senior specialist and learning engineer at Apple, stated, “The tech skills are one thing; the transferable skills will come from the framework and workflows from challenge to solution concepts.”

The showcase revealed how students identify the problems that affect their community. Now, they walk away with the knowledge and skills to address those issues and make an impact on the world.

Staff Announcement: New Let’s Detroit Engagement Manager

Please join our team in congratulating Jenny Orletski-Dehne on her promotion to Let’s Detroit Engagement Manager. Jenny’s new role and the integration of Let’s Detroit with MICHauto offer exciting opportunities to attract, retain, and grow talent across our state. An extension of our talent work and sponsored by cross-industry corporations, Let’s Detroit provides young talent with the resources to learn about living, playing, and working in the Detroit region through ambassadors who share their real and unique insights and perspectives. Through the Let’s Detroit platform, college students and young professionals are able to connect with ambassadors to grow their professional networks, explore careers in leading industries, and search for jobs posted by Let’s Detroit sponsors.

Jenny will be responsible for building and maintaining relationships and partnerships with college campuses and universities, funders, and young professional ambassadors, as well as collaborating with Detroit Regional Chamber staff to develop content and resources for the Let’s Detroit community of young talent.

During Jenny’s two and a half years with MICHauto, she worked on several talent attraction and retention initiatives including relaunching the Discover Auto high school tour program and championing the You Drive the Future campaign. This experience will be invaluable to the growth of Let’s Detroit and its impact on the region’s talent.

“I am a young professional who enjoys connecting with people, exploring my community, and sharing stories about the individuals and organizations that embrace and strengthen the culture in the region. Therefore, Let’s Detroit is a perfect match. I’m excited to join the collaborative and creative team that drives Let’s Detroit and contribute to its success and growth, while also providing resources for the amazing talent in the region to grow their professional networks and have fun while doing it,” Jenny said.

For more information, reach out to Jenny at or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities contact Kathryn Smith at

MICHauto Town Hall: The Push to End Distracted Driving in Michigan

On Aug. 25, MICHauto hosted Town Hall: The Push to End Distracted Driving in Michigan. Participants were called to action by Steven Kiefer, chairman of the Kiefer Foundation, Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham), and Jennifer Smith, chief executive officer and co-founder of to push the passage of hands-free legislation – House Bills 4277, 4278, and 4279 to protect Michigan drivers. The conversation was moderated by Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nine people are killed by distracted driving accidents in the United States every day, and taking your eyes off the road for only two seconds doubles the chance for a collision. Kiefer and Smith know firsthand the meaning behind this statistic, as both candidly shared stories about the loss of family members at the hands of distracted drivers.

Michigan has a ban on texting and driving, but technology has evolved creating a need for drivers to be given clarity about what constitutes distracted driving while using a handheld mobile device, stated Rep. Mari Manoogian. Scrolling social media and looking up driving directions may not be “texting,” but they do contribute to an increase in distracted driving, resulting in more accidents and more deaths on roadways. It is important, Manoogian emphasizes, to make sure that there is not a device in your hand while operating a motor vehicle. Put both hands on the wheel. Focus on driving.

This simple, impactful message is behind The Kiefer Foundation’s latest campaign: Just Drive. Says Kiefer, this is a high visibility campaign with support from influencers like General Motors Co.’s Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra and NFL Quarterback Tom Brady. There have been many campaigns to stop distracted driving, but this new campaign hits home by calling out the many ways distractions can occur while driving. “Put down the food, the phones, the makeup, and just focus on driving.”

Beyond legislation to regulate hands-free driving, there also needs to be a shift in behavior and culture to end distracted driving. Smith noted that in the last two years, nine additional states have passed hands-free legislation. Those states are seeing reductions in crashes, lowered insurance costs, and lives being saved. Public support is driving these changes and encouraging a shift in culture, with each state having 80-90% public support of the legislation.

Kiefer agreed, stating that surveys indicate 88% of residents in Michigan support the legislation and are really demanding it.

“We don’t really change behavior until it becomes very personal. I thought I was a very safe distracted driver. It’s going to happen to you. You have the ability to bring an end to this now before it happens to you. Don’t let it be the reason you get involved,” said Kiefer.

The phone becomes more and more entwined in our lives every day, and there is a huge difference between using it in your home or being in the car.

Get Involved: Three things you can do now to save lives and eliminate distracted driving.

  1. Be personally accountable. Put the phone down. Challenge yourself to take a drive without touching your phone and using the modern technology available today to be hands-free. Then make sure your loves ones are doing the same.
  2. Call and email your legislators to advocate for the passage of these bills. Legislators need to hear from constituents directly. We must work together to get this legislation across the finish line.
  3. In addition to putting down your phone in the car, speak up when others do it. There needs to be a cultural shift in thinking where distracted driving is not socially acceptable because of the impact it has on others’ lives.

Before you get in the car, reflect on Steven Kiefer’s closing remarks, and get in the mindset to #justdrive.

“Until it happens to you, you don’t really appreciate the gravity of this. And I think through very personal stories and being a bit vulnerable here, I think that helps people understand just how tragic this can be,” said Kiefer.

“Usually when I’m one-on-one with someone, I often ask them about their loved ones. And I would ask them to tell me about your most important loved one. Maybe it’s a child, maybe it’s a spouse, maybe a best friend. And I often ask them to tell me about the last time you saw them and what they were wearing and what did you talk about. At the end of if it did you hug them and say I love you and goodbye? And that gets people emotional because you start thinking about it and then I will always follow that with now what if that’s the last time you’ll see them?

Because that is what many of us are living with. And you know, when you put it that way, and if all of you could just think about what you would do to prevent that from happening – what would you do to make that last interaction you had with your loved one not be the last interaction with your loved one. And that’s the real point here. You know we’ve got an opportunity to do some things that will save lives.”

GM requires U.S. salaried employees to disclose vaccination status

Crain’s Detroit Business
Aug. 26, 2021
Hannah Lutz

General Motors Co. has required all salaried employees in the U.S. to disclose their coronavirus vaccination status to help guide its safety protocols, the automaker confirmed Thursday.

“The reporting of our employees’ vaccination status is helping GM Medical assess the overall immunity of our employee population and determine when GM should relax or strengthen certain COVID-19 safety protocols as recommended by the CDC and OSHA, such as mask wearing, physical distancing and facility occupancy rates,” spokeswoman Maria Raynal said.

Employees who said they were vaccinated through a confidential online tool were required to submit proof of vaccination by Aug. 23. GM has 42,000 salaried employees in the United States. The requirement was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

GM has not yet required its 46,000 hourly workers to report their vaccination status, though they can disclose their status voluntarily, Raynal told Automotive News.

“In an effort to improve our data collection, we took the first step with our U.S. salaried employees to put a process in place for mandatory reporting. We will maintain the voluntary reporting of vaccine status and encourage our hourly employees to continue to report in the voluntary system,” she said.

Since vaccines have become available, GM has encouraged its workforce to get vaccinated and hosted drives at assembly plants.

Many employees have returned to the workplace after working remotely for part of the pandemic. The company hasn’t outlined a definitive return-to-work plan. Instead, GM launched a remote work standard called “work appropriately.” The guideline is designed to give employees the flexibility to work from wherever they are most efficient, GM said, and it gives the Detroit-based automaker access to a broader talent pool beyond its office locations.

View the original article.

Oak Park’s Bollinger expands commercial lineup with Class 4, 5 EVs

The Detroit News 
Aug. 25, 2021
Breana Noble 

Bollinger Motors Inc. said Wednesday it will sell Class 4 and Class 5 electric commercial trucks in addition to the Class 3 vehicles it unveiled last year in a move the Oak Park-based startup said would offer greater coverage to customers.

Bollinger’s $125,000 B1 SUV and B2 pickup are among the anticipated crop of forthcoming consumer electric vehicles. But the startup has turned to the high-volume work truck market to sustain its operation that initially was largely self-funded by CEO Robert Bollinger with a fortune earned in the cosmetics industry.

“We’ve been working on these vehicles with the intention of a commercial application,” Bollinger told The Detroit News. “We’ve been going down that path with an all-new frame and chassis.”

The automaker previously debuted a configurable, $70,000 B2CC commercial pickup chassis cab and $55,000 Chass-E truck platform for the Class 3 segment with Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings between 10,001 and 14,000 pounds. Ford Motor Co.’s F-350 is a Class 3 truck.

Class 4 and 5 go bigger: The B2 Chass-E-4 and Chass-E-5 have weight ratings of 16,000 and 19,500 pounds, respectively. The electric skateboards can power last-mile delivery vans, chassis cabs, freight or bucket trucks and airport tugs. Pricing still is being finalized, though the vehicles are meant to be cost effective, efficient and offer long-life durability, Bollinger said.

He hopes to start building prototypes soon. Production could begin in 2023 with the manufacturer that also will build its retail vehicles. That partner could be announced next month. Progress has faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bollinger said.

The Class 4 truck’s payload is 9,000 pounds with more than 1,000 cubic feet of cargo space. The Class 5 truck’s payload is 11,000 pounds with more than 1,200 cubic feet of cargo space. Both platforms are expected to offer more than 200 miles of range from Bollinger’s 700-volt battery packs that come in multiple sizes. Variants include rear-wheel drive and dual-rear wheel drive.

“There’s a lot of really valuable work that we have done there in Class 3 that can be used beyond Class 3,” Bollinger said.

Speaking with potential customers that Bollinger hopes to announce in the near future, the company heard about how businesses may use Class 3 trucks to deliver to people’s homes or businesses but use the larger vehicles to transport between their own facilities.

“They don’t always have their fleets in one class,” Bollinger said. “It was a way to offer a lot of customers a few more choices.”

The suppliers Bollinger already was working with have the production capacity and motors with the capability to make the jump, he said. Bollinger itself expects to double its more than 50-person workforce by the end of the year.

Plus, Class 3, 4 and 5 represent a largely open space. Although Ohio-based Workhorse Group Inc. has introduced in-class EVs, companies likes Tesla Inc. and Nikola Motor Co. have focused on larger commercial vehicles like Class 8 big rigs. Lordstown Motors Corp.’s Endurance pickup and Rivian Automotive Inc.’s trucks and vans are in smaller classes.

But startups have faced their fair share of obstacles. Rivian in July delayed the start of deliveries of its R1T pickup and R1S SUV until September, citing challenges with equipment installation and facility construction in Normal, Illinois, and parts shortages like semiconductors. It still expects to begin producing Inc. vans this year.

Lordstown also has said it intends to launch production in September, after previously warning it may not have the funds to continue in business. It lost its CEO and chief financial officer this summer following a scathing report from a short-sell investor that had targeted Nikola a year prior.

Bollinger hopes the semiconductor scarcity that has shut down auto plants around the world since the start of the year will be over by the time the company launches production.

“It just goes to the bigger picture of how incredibly complicated the automotive industry is,” Bollinger said. “The industry standard is massively expensive and massively complicated.”

That makes going public through a special-purpose acquisition company, as many EV startups have, attractive in order to get an influx of cash, he said. But that comes with greater transparency at a time when many of these companies, including the privately owned Bollinger, still have a lot of development work to do.

“We are trying to not put the cart in front of the horse,” he said. “We are getting financing and funding. When it’s the right time to announce things, we announce them.”

View the original article.

MICHauto’s Carolyn Sauer Joins Tech Talks: Automotive Trends Presented by HELLA

Carolyn Sauer, senior director of MICHAuto, joined the TechTalks: Automotive Trends Presented by HELLA podcast to share insights on what moves are being made for sustainable change in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through MICHauto’s unique role as Michigan’s only automotive cluster association, Sauer addressed questions like “Are companies being held accountable for the projected changes?” and “How will recruiting change after over a year of remote working?” during the conversation. Listen to the full podcast below.

Opinion: Lawmakers must fight distracted driving that killed my son

The Detroit News
Aug. 11, 2021
Steven Kiefer, The Kiefer Foundation

Five summers ago, my son Mitchel set a sales record selling Cutco knives, and delivered an award acceptance speech that belied his 18 years on earth. “Dream colossal,” he told the audience. “Change someone’s life. Change the world.”

His words are now his epitaph, literally carved into his tombstone. Just two months after that speech, Mitchel died in a car crash caused by a distracted driver.

On Sept. 19, 2016, Mitchel was driving back to Michigan State University to continue his freshman year after spending a weekend at home to see a Detroit Lions game. The sun was out, the roads were dry, but there was a bit of congestion.

As Mitchel slowed for traffic, the driver of a car behind him apparently wasn’t paying attention and plowed into the rear of Mitchel’s car at 82 mph, vaulting him across a narrow median on Interstate 96 and into oncoming traffic. He was hit by a truck and killed instantly.

One moment of distraction ended Mitchel’s life and forever shattered our hearts. A month later, my family created the Kiefer Foundation to fight distracted driving through awareness, technology, and public policy.

With the five-year anniversary of Mitchel’s death approaching, we are imploring Michigan lawmakers to join 24 other states and Washington, D.C., to crack down on distracted drivers. Specifically, the state Legislature should pass the bipartisan bills before them now to make hand-held cellphone usage a primary offense. It would allow police to stop and ticket people who engage in this dangerous behavior — before they cause a wreck.

People tell me to be patient — wait until next year, they say, or for the next Legislature, when perhaps the logjam in Lansing will lift. But every day we wait is 10 more deaths — approximately the number of people who die daily due to distracted driving in the United States. In Michigan, there were 64 fatal crashes tied to distracted driving in 2019, resulting in 71 deaths. Experts believe these numbers grossly underestimate the toll of distracted driving.

Every Michigan resident has the right to drive safely on our roads. Every parent deserves the comfort of knowing that our state leaders will do everything possible to persuade people to drive without distraction and to punish those who don’t.

One of the House co-sponsors of the distracted driving legislation is former sheriff’s deputy Mike Mueller, a Republican from Linden.

“With today’s vehicle and cellular communication advancements, this is common-sense legislation that will help ensure the safety of drivers in the state of Michigan,” Mueller said.

Five Septembers ago, Mitchel was a hockey goaltender, a gifted salesman, a thriving student, and an extraordinary son and brother with unlimited potential. I was driving on I-696 in Detroit on that September afternoon when my cellphone rang. It was my daughter Julianna, yelling and crying so frantically that I couldn’t understand a word.

As she was a 16-year-old new driver, I was certain she had been in an accident and tried to calm her down.

“Take a breath, Jewels,” I said, calling Julianna by her nickname. “Tell me what happened.”

“It’s Mitchel,” she wailed. “It’s Mitchel.”

What? That didn’t make sense to me. Mitchel wasn’t home. He was on his way back to MSU. Julianna was at home with her mom. Why would Jewels be calling about Mitchel?

As I tried to process what Julianna was saying, I heard his mother’s muffled voice. “He died,” she said. Jewels screamed, then our phones disconnected and would not reconnect.

I gripped the steering wheel so hard my knuckles whitened, praying all the way home that there had been a mistake. Maybe the police misidentified Mitchel’s car. Maybe somebody else was driving it. Perhaps it was somebody else’s child.

But when I arrived home, a police officer confirmed the most devastating news of my life: Mitchel was gone. I collapsed on the family room floor.

So now, in the memory of Mitchel and the tens of thousands of victims like him, I am begging Michigan lawmakers to fight the epidemic of distracted driving. Dream colossal. Change someone’s life. Change the world.

Steve Kiefer is the founder of The Kiefer Foundation and president of General Motors International.

*View original article.

Rising Michigan COVID-19 cases bust return-to-work plans for businesses


Detroit Free Press

By Adrienne Roberts

Many Michigan employers had their eyes set on fall for when business would return to some semblance of normal. State mask requirements were lifted in June, vaccines are widely available and enhanced unemployment benefits are set to expire in less than a month.

But with COVID-19 cases once again on the rise in Michigan, and across much of the country, businesses are changing plans, such as implementing a vaccine mandate or delayinga mandatory return to the office, for employees and for customers.

Employers range widely in their approach.

All employees at Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis, the company that formed from the January merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot-maker PSA Group, were required to start wearing face masks again last week, a decision announced by the COVID-19 Joint Task Force, which is composed of leaders from the UAW, and the three automakers.

“It’s a real mixed bag right now,” said Emily Annand, who co-chairs the Lockton Michigan Talent and Culture Advisory Council, which includes executives from several companies.

The council met last week and discussed a variety of challenges employers face, including staffing and compensation challenges, and how return to office plans, vaccine mandates and face-covering requirements have changed in light of the delta variant.

The delta variant is the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S. and is nearly twice as contagious as previous variants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 233 cases of the delta variant in 39 Michigan counties last week, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, but it’s difficult to tell how prevalent the strain is in Michigan because only a small number of test samples are being sequenced to determine whether they are variant cases.

There’s no one playbook companies are following as they navigate this moment in the pandemic. While there are some local, state and federal laws employers have to follow, and some industry-specific requirements, companies have few options, from reinstituting mask mandates to mandating employees get one of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“A lot of the requirements and policies really all stem from an organization’s core values and culture,” Annand said.

The good news, Annand said, is that the communications that go out to employees and the new policies likely don’t have to be created from scratch. The difficult part is, “we know what this means short term, but we still don’t know long term how to plan our lives based on what might be to come.”

Here’s how several local employers are navigating this moment in the pandemic:

Moving forward with long-established plans

When Michigan’s mask mandate ended in June, the president and CEO of Lathrup Village-based Michigan First Credit Union started working on a plan to prohibit masks in bank branches. While financial institutions adjusted to customers wearing masks during the pandemic, President and CEO Michael Poulos said security was a concern.

Poulos said there are multiple cameras at a branch of a bank or a credit union, and footage can later be used if a customer attempts to steal money. It’s more difficult to find out who that person is if they’re wearing a mask. He also said it’s standard practice to greet every customer as they come in the door, because if they feel they’ve been identified, they may not come back to attempt to commit a crime.

“We’re not comfortable with that,” he said about the requirement that anyone inside had to be masked. “No financial institution is probably comfortable with it. So we waited, and we accommodated everything. We did whatever we were supposed to do. We made mitigation steps in a few ways, but nothing that could get us back to the level of security we needed.”

After the state mask mandate was lifted, Poulos put in place a plan to prohibit masks beginning just after Labor Day.

“That’s why we set the time of Labor Day, to give people time to adjust,” he said. But then, the COVID situation worsened in Michigan and when an email was sent out last week notifying customers of the new policy, the credit union faced pushback from some clients.

“By (Labor Day), it might not be as bad,” he said. “We just don’t know.”

Poulos said if a statewide mask mandate went back into effect, this policy could change. But for now, the credit union is moving forward with the plan.

Reinstating safety protocols

Some other employers, though, are reinstating policies from earlier in the pandemic. Detroit-based DTE Energy is re-implementing mandatory mask wearing and social distancing while inside DTE facilities, plus conducting daily health screenings, Lisa Bolla, a spokesperson for DTE, said in an emailed statement. The changes are because of the rise in COVID-19 cases in the areas the utility serves.

Detroit-headquartered Ally Financial, meanwhile, is asking employees to consider wearing masks when at Ally facilities, and offering employees coming into the office access to rapid COVID-19 testing, Tim Gerstenberger, a spokesperson for Ally, said.

The company also Is extending its voluntary return-to-office pilot for vaccinated employees through Oct. 25 to address the surge in the delta variant, Jillian Palash, an Ally spokesperson, said.

Some companies, though, never loosened their safety protocols to begin with. Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto program, which advocates for the state’s automotive and mobility companies, said many automotive suppliers never changed their policies that were implemented at the start of the pandemic last year.

“There are some companies that are mandating masks again,” Stevens said. “But there are companies that never took those off. It’s not like they’re adjusting on the fly right now; they’re just tightening up protocols.”

Stevens said due to the fact that many automotive companies have operations in other countries, their safety protocols have stayed consistent throughout the pandemic.

Stopping short of a vaccine mandate

Where automotive companies are stopping short though, Stevens said, is mandating that employees get a vaccine. That’s consistent with what Annand is seeing. Although many hospital systems and colleges have mandated the vaccine, outside of those industries, she hasn’t seen much movement on this front in recent weeks.

Some companies instead are implementing requirements specific to those who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19.

For example, Rocket Companies Inc. said last week it would require all of its unvaccinated employees to have weekly COVID-19 tests and wear masks when moving about the office, according to multiple news reports.

View original article here

CEO Spotlight: Aludyne’s Andreas Weller

Andreas Weller is the president and chief executive officer of Aludyne. MICHauto spoke with Weller about his experience as a leader and his top advice for young automotive professionals and the next generation.

What would you tell young professionals about our automotive industry to keep them in Michigan?

There has never been a more exciting time to be in the auto industry. The industry is changing in several fundamental ways, all at once. The way people are using the product is changing; increasingly people are utilizing mobility services in urban centers rather than buying a vehicle. The product is changing drastically; the change from combustion engines to electric drives is upending the industry and driving change across the value chain. These changes open the door for completely new entrants: Uber, Didi, Tesla, etc. have created billions in market value and are challenging traditional market participants. Furthermore, the auto industry is a truly global industry. If you want the opportunity to live and work abroad and work with people across the globe, come and join the auto industry. You are sure to have an exciting career, with the opportunity to experience a multitude of challenges and learn a lot in a very short time.

What are the most important attributes of successful leaders today?

Successful leaders continue to learn and adapt. The world is changing very fast, we have to learn and change with it. You are not the smartest in the room and others know a lot more about any given subject than you will. Learn from them and seek their advice and counsel. Keep asking questions.

What advice do you have for the next generation?

Make sure you don’t get “siloed” in your career. Look for opportunities to work in different roles, different functions, and multiple countries and regions. You will have a much more rewarding career and will become a much more valuable employee. This will not only advance you professionally, it will also help you grow as a person. Take some risk and don’t be discouraged if a move doesn’t seem to work out right away. Everything is a learning opportunity.

What is your prediction for electric or autonomous vehicles over the next 5 years? The next 10 – 20 years?

The trend towards electric vehicles is irreversible. China and Europe are leading the conversion from combustion engines to electric drives. This trend will accelerate and automotive OEMs are designing their global platforms to meet the customer needs in those markets. As we continue to invest in the required infrastructure around the world and costs are coming down, consumers will increasingly embrace and demand electric vehicles globally. Autonomous driving will take a lot longer. We will continue to see the adoption of autonomous vehicles in geo-fenced areas followed by commercial vehicle applications. That’s where there is a real business case. There will be continued adoption of driver assist systems for convenience and safety in the passenger case but Level 5 autonomous systems in any appreciable volume will take a lot longer.

In Case You Missed It: MICHauto by the Bay

After a one-year hiatus, MICHauto by the Bay returned to the Hotel Indigo rooftop in Traverse City on Aug. 3 for a memorable evening. Held during the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars, over 100 people attended the networking event that served to promote MICHauto’s industry branding campaign, Discover Auto: You Drive the Future.

Among the many suppliers, educational institutions, service providers, non-profits, and economic development office attendees were two co-chairs of the Michigan Legislative Automotive Caucus, Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) and Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City). Conversation topics revolved around mobility and talent, as well as the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that stalled face-to-face gatherings for more than a year.

“It was really great to be out in public seeing our friends, colleagues, and partners face-to-face again. Our MICHauto team is so appreciative of our sponsors and everyone that attended. We really enjoyed reconnecting,” said Carolyn Sauer, senior director of MICHauto.

Jenny Orletski-Dehne, coordinator of MICHauto, spoke briefly about the importance of the recently launched industry branding campaign featuring young professionals. “This campaign is getting a lot of attention on Instagram from 13-20 year-olds. Young professionals sharing their personal stories and experiences to drive the message that our industry is growing, global, inclusive, and high-tech is relatable for this audience.”

Launched in June, the Discover Auto: You Drive the Future campaign seeks to change the perception students have that the automotive industry is not very innovative or exciting. Hearing passionate, youthful voices talk about a day in their life paints a truer picture of what automotive and mobility look like today. To share the message, check out the toolkit and follow along on our social channels.

A special thank you to our incredible sponsors at Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Lacks Enterprises, Inc., Detroit Manufacturing Systems (DMS), and Continental Structural Plastics, a Teijin Group Company.