LISTEN: Glenn Stevens Jr. and Lisa Lunsford on the CEO Coalition for Change

 

Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto, and Lisa Lunsford, co-founder and CEO of Global Strategic Supply Solutions (GS3), joined Automotive News’ Steve Schmith on the Daily Drive Podcast to discuss the launch of the CEO Coalition for Change.

Lunsford, along with Stevens and the team at MICHauto, the Center for Automotive Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (CADIA), and CEOs from ten automotive suppliers developed the CEO Coalition for Change to address the need to further move the needle on diversity, equity, and inclusion with the automotive industry.

CADIA’s mission has been to double the number of diverse leaders in the automotive industry by 2030, while MICHauto’s primary mission has been to promote, grow, and retain talent within the industry. By combining their core objectives, CADIA and MICHauto were able to develop the Coalition to further move the needle on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

While the term D&I (diversity and inclusion) has been around for some time, the addition of equity remains relatively new.

“Equity means intentional equality, and you can not have equality without being intentional,” said Lunsford. “Equity looks at the ecosystem, where we are as a whole, analyzes that situation, and says we have to be intentional at distributing our resources.”

The CEO Coalition for Change has been working on four key areas: talent, innovation performance, reputation and responsibility, and financial performance. One of the largest focuses of the Coalition’s DE&I initiative involves building and sustaining economically sustainable community. Fair treatment and equity within the workplace translates to improvements in employee attitudes and work efforts. A study by Deloitte found that companies with diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures are eight times more likely to have better business outcomes, and three times more likely to retain employees, particularly millennials.

“What we do for diversity is really a win for all,” said Lunsford. “When people are acknowledged and they know that by giving their best they will be rewarded properly…then everybody gives their best and that goes to employee retention and developing the talent pipeline.”

CEO Spotlight: Rami Fakhoury of Fakhoury Global Immigration

Rami Fakhoury is the founder and managing director of Fakhoury Global Immigration. MICHauto had the chance to speak with Fakhoury and hear more about his achievements and motivations.

What is your number one priority as CEO?
My number one priority is to guide the development and growth of Fakhoury Global Immigration in two main ways. First, we provide our attorneys and staff with the resources they need to be productive and engaged in their work. Secondly, we strive to give every client top-quality service so that they meet their talent mobility goals.

What is an accomplishment you are most proud of personally or professionally?
Professionally, I am most proud of having grown Fakhoury Global Immigration from a small concern into one of the leading independently owned business-based immigration firms in the U.S. Even more than my professional accomplishments, I am proud to have Carmen as my wife and life partner as well as being father to our three beautiful children. They have enriched my life in ways that I cannot begin to describe.

What would you do with your 15 minutes of fame?
I would use my fifteen minutes of fame to show people the critical and vital role that immigrants have in building our national economy. Too often, immigrants are accused of taking jobs away from U.S. citizens. The truth is that immigrants start more businesses than U.S. citizens and contribute billions of dollars every year both in tax revenue and in hiring U.S. workers. Immigrants are also at the forefront of innovation, helping America to retain its competitive edge. This is a message that needs to be heard more often.

What advice do you have for the next generation?
We live in a time of tremendous change thanks to the increasing integration of artificial intelligence into the workplace. Jobs are being transformed at a rapid pace and that pace is only going to accelerate in the foreseeable future. Therefore, I advise all young people to embrace change as a guiding ethic. If you commit to lifelong learning and to being flexible, you will be in a better position to succeed in the long term.

What would you tell young professionals about our automotive industry to keep them in Michigan?
Many young professionals want to go into IT and/or move to the coasts. What they do not realize is that they can have a fulfilling professional career in the automotive industry. Not only is the industry the backbone of Michigan’s economy, but it also increasingly integrates advanced technologies into its product lines (think, for example, of such autonomous features as self-parking). This means young people do not have to go to Silicon Valley to have a career in IT. Moreover, the cost of living is much lower in the Midwest, meaning that automotive professionals enjoy a high quality of life and do not have to deal with the inflated costs of living or epic commutes their colleagues on the coasts endure.

What are the most important attributes of successful leaders today?
I would say empathy is one of the most important attributes of successful leadership. The COVID-19 pandemic hit everyone hard from our legal assistants all the way up to our partners. This underscored–for me, anyway–how important it is for leaders to understand where their clients and their employees are coming from. Unlike profits or losses, morale is not quantifiable–but it is essential if businesses are going to weather the storms.

In Case You Missed It: Investor Town Hall with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell

On Monday, Jan. 25, U.S. Rep Debbie Dingell joined MICHauto’s Glenn Stevens Jr. for a candid conversation on what to expect with the incoming Biden administration during a MICHauto Investor Town Hall.  A strong advocate for the automotive industry, Dingell shared her background, hometown pride, and dedication to making sure that Michigan is the home for mobility.  Promoting government policies that foster growth in new technology is one key area of focus for her and for Michigan.

Going into the new year with the pandemic still before us, Dingell addressed automotive executives’ top concerns and stated that the transfer of power in Washington has ushered in a new day for this country and this industry. Out of the gate, a national COVID-19 strategy is being implemented to address communication, distribution of the vaccine, equipment needed for the administration of the vaccine, and educating people on its benefits.

In conjunction with the national COVID-19 strategy, the new administration will focus on another COVID-19 relief bill followed by an infrastructure bill. The infrastructure bill will be large in scope with a focus on fixing roads and bridges, addressing the broadband issue, and developing EV infrastructure. Other topics that were addressed during the discussion included the USMCA trade agreement and needed changes to immigration policy.

The conversation wrapped up with talk of our talent pipeline. Dingell emphasized that skilled trades need to be valued and that existing programs in support of skilled trades need to be better utilized and expanded upon. MAT² is one such program that was brought up by executives asking for continued government support in getting those types of programs funded and into the schools.

Stay up to date on the latest MIChauto events.

The Auto Show is Ours to Evolve

This article was authored by MICHauto Executive Director Glenn Stevens Jr. and published as an op-ed for dBusiness Magazine. 


The traditional auto show is quickly disappearing. In fact, it may already be gone. Tradition is based on the idea of something being “long-standing.” But very few things stand forever, and they change with time.

We are wrestling with that here in Detroit. We want our North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) tradition to endure, even though we recognize that today we are experiencing an inflection point impacting the auto industry. Everything is changing — the vehicle, how we live, the consumer interface, and even our priorities. This is a convergence of mobility, digital and artificial intelligence proliferation, and a changing planet. We either find a path to the upward trajectory curve or fall victim to the downward spiral. Things cannot stay the same, even though we may wish they could.

As one of the founders of Intel, Andy Grove, once said, “The person who is the star of a previous era is often the last one to adapt to change, the last one to yield to logic of a strategic inflection point and tends to fall harder than most.”

Sound familiar? How many times has Detroit, its products, or industry fallen harder than most? General Motors does not want to be the star of a previous era; they want to own a significant part of the future. For them, leading the way means zero crashes, zero emissions, zero congestion, and an all-electric future.

The experts say that an auto show must now be experiential, but for attendees, seeing the cars up close has always been an experience, ever since the first auto show in Paris in 1898, followed by the Detroit Auto Show in 1899. While cars and trucks have changed over the last century and a quarter, they still have four wheels and are primarily propelled by an internal combustion engine. As for the act of viewing, testing, and buying a car, that remains much the same, but the “experience” has changed and must continue to transform.

We thought June of 2020 was going to be “it!” The new Detroit show, the new experience. But, due to a global health crisis, it was not to be. All of us in the region should be motivated to be a part of the solution to chart the future for this invaluable event. We must help determine, create, and build a new experience.

The NAIAS team knows that we must capitalize on Detroit’s position as the most unique cluster of auto-mobility technology, engineering, testing, and advanced manufacturing in the world. Period. There is nothing else like it. The sheer amount and concentration of innovators, companies, decision-makers, and industry stakeholders here does not exist anywhere else. Having and holding an auto show is something we have owned and need to, as the industry’s epicenter.

Nobody in Michigan’s center of the auto industry wants to stand still. While the evolution will never stop, we are not yielding the perception and brand of our industry, of Detroit, and of Michigan. For the sake of our present and future workforce, economy, diversity, equity, inclusion, and new Americans, this industry and the solutions it brings to the world matter. Our show matters. And looking to the future, working together, it’s easy to like our chances of keeping it successful in new ways.

*Originally published in dBusiness Magazine.

$39M in Going PRO Talent Fund grants awarded to train 30,000 workers at more than 850 Michigan businesses

Funds help Michigan employers prepare the talent they need to compete and grow; workers gain skills needed for in-demand career paths

LANSING, Mich. – Through $39,015,052 in grants from the Going PRO Talent Fund, Michigan is helping nearly 30,000 workers across the state to secure employment, industry-recognized credentials and strong wages by providing training grants to more than 850 Michigan businesses to support their high-demand, high-skill talent needs.

“Now more than ever, we need to invest in our talent and businesses to ensure strong economic recovery and growth,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Programs like the Going PRO Talent Fund allow us to put Michiganders on the path to good paying jobs while helping Michigan employers develop the critical talent they need to compete in the global economy.”

Since the program’s launch in 2014, over 3,000 Michigan businesses have received Talent Fund awards to assist in training, developing and retaining newly hired and current employees. Training must fill a demonstrated talent need experienced by the employer and lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and recognized by industry.

The Going PRO Talent Fund has supported more than 94,000 workers with training over the years, including new hires and current workers.

“With 545,000 professional trades job openings expected through the year 2026, this fund plays a vital role in helping Michigan employers meet their talent needs by investing in homegrown workers,” Susan Corbin, acting director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) said.

LEO makes Going PRO Talent Fund awards to employers through Michigan Works! Agencies (MWAs). Participating employers play an integral role in defining their key training needs, then work with the local MWAs and other partners to develop appropriate, realistic training plans.

The Going PRO Talent Fund aligns with Governor Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60 percent by 2030.

To learn more about the Going PRO Talent Fund, visit Michigan.gov/TalentFund.

Transportation Economic Development Grant Will Support 2,200 New Jobs In Detroit

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has awarded a state transportation economic development grant that will support 2,200 new jobs in the city of Detroit. The grant will help fund infrastructure improvements related to General Motors Co.’s (GM) Factory ZERO plant that straddles the Detroit-Hamtramck border.

“This is good news for our families, our businesses, and our economy as a whole. Every Michigander deserves to drive on our roads safely, without blowing a tire or cracking a windshield, and this partnership with GM will help us reach that goal while creating good jobs for Michigan workers,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “I am pleased that we were able to work with this long-standing company and the City of Detroit on the road improvements necessary to support GM’s Factory ZERO, and I will continue working with everyone who wants to create Michigan jobs and improve our state’s infrastructure. Let’s get to work.”

“General Motors appreciates the support from MDOT and the City of Detroit for these much-needed road improvements,” said Jim Quick, plant director at Factory ZERO, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center. “Factory ZERO is an important piece of our journey to an all-electric future and these road improvements will greatly help our employees and the community as we prepare to build electric trucks and the Cruise Origin.”

“This strategic investment from the state will help the city upgrade the road infrastructure around GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, which will create 2,200 new jobs at a plant that was once expected to close. Instead, it will produce the vehicles of the future and provide tremendous opportunity for hundreds more Detroiters to join our city’s growing middle class. I’m deeply appreciative to the state and GM for their commitment to this project and their investment in our city,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

GM designs, builds, and sells cars, trucks, crossovers, and automobile parts worldwide. Its core brands include Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. GM recently announced that 40% of its U.S. entries will be battery electric vehicles by the end of 2025. Factory ZERO is a key part of GM’s transition to electric vehicles and will be the launchpad for GM’s multi-brand electric vehicle strategy. The company’s largest investment in any plant in its history, GM is investing $2.2 billion in Factory ZERO, reconfiguring it to an all-electric vehicle assembly plant.

GM chose its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center as the location for the center of its electric vehicle strategy, but the surrounding infrastructure was a concern. The roads around the plant are all in poor condition and have reached the end of their service life. GM was concerned that the poor condition of the roads could provide a problem with their just-in-time manufacturing processes. The company was also concerned with the possibility of receiving damaged parts and potential damage to delivery trucks.

Work funded in part with this grant will involve rebuilding and repaving with concrete Mt. Elliott Street from Conant Street to Harper Avenue, Conant Street from Mt. Elliott Street north to the city limit just south of Miller Street, Hamtramck Drive from E. Grand Boulevard north to the Detroit city limit, and E. Grand Boulevard from Trombly Street to Hamtramck Drive.

The total project cost is $11,686,313. The TEDF Category A share of the project is $6,000,000, with the City of Detroit providing $5,686,313 in matching funds. Total participating building costs are $9,109,051. The City of Detroit will provide $2,577,262 for non-building project-related costs. In addition, the City of Detroit will provide $1,262,060 for non-participating work costs for rebuilding sidewalks.  Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF helps finance highway, road and street projects that are critical to the movement of people and products, and getting workers to their jobs, materials to growers and manufacturers, and finished goods to consumers.

TEDF “Category A” or “Targeted Industries Program” grants provide state funding for public roadway improvements that allow road agencies to respond quickly to the transportation needs of expanding companies and eliminate inadequate roadways as an obstacle to private investment and job creation. Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities, and villages. More information about the program is available online at www.Michigan.gov/TEDF.

Announcing the CEO Coalition for Change, an Industry Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative | Jan. 25

Join MICHauto, in partnership with CADIA, for the CEO Coalition for Change launch event on Jan. 25 at 11:30 a.m. The CEO Coalition for Change is a group of automotive CEOs committed to taking action to make meaningful strides in diversity, equity, and inclusion to become a more inclusive industry, better engage the workforce, and create economic opportunities in the communities in which we serve and operate.

Attendees will hear from the CEO Coalition’s founding organizations and CEOs, along with industry leaders.

Speakers include:

  • Lori Costew, Chief Diversity Officer and People Strategy, Ford Motor Company
  • Ramzi Hermiz, Chairman of the Board, The Automotive Hall of Fame
  • Dennis Hoeg, President, Nexteer Automotive
  • Lisa Lunsford, CEO and Co-Founder, GS3; Chair, MICHauto Board of Directors
  • Samir Salman, CEO, Continental North America
  • Sandy Stojkovski, CEO, Vitesco Technologies North America
  • Ray Telang, U.S. Automotive Lead, Detroit Market, PwC

Register now to attend the launch event and find out how you can be part of the CEO Coalition for Change.

Data Highlight: MICHauto Automobility Asset Map

The MICHauto Automobility Asset Map highlights the automotive and mobility assets throughout the state of Michigan. The map directory of assets is categorized by OEM Headquarters and research and development centers, OEM assembly plants, deployments and proving grounds, mobility assets, top suppliers, entrepreneur resources, component assembly plants, universities, and transportation. Selecting an asset to explore, prompts the map to show the specific locations for each business, which can be used to identify business clusters. For example, a majority of automotive suppliers are located in Southeast, Central, and West regions of Michigan. However, entrepreneur resources are sprawled across the state with the University Research Corridor in Lansing, 20Fathoms in Traverse City, and Michigan Technological University Office of Innovation and Commercialization in the Upper Peninsula.

MICHauto recently updated the asset map to include the 22nd OEM to locate in Michigan – Lordstown Motors. By clicking on their profile, users can access their address, website, and location on the map in relation to other OEM headquarters and R&D centers. Their decision to establish an automotive R&D center in Michigan brings the total number of OEM headquarters and R&D centers to 24 (22 unique OEMs), all located in the Southeast Michigan region.

This tool is also helpful for organizations focused on business attraction, including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. Kathryn Snorrason, managing director for the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, explains how valuable this tool is for showcasing the business opportunities in Michigan.

“The MICHauto Automobility Asset Map helps out-of-state clients become familiar with the automotive and mobility ecosystem here in Michigan. Clients quickly grasp the vast number of companies spread across the state, and they have the opportunity to dive deeper to understand the details surrounding each of those companies,” said Snorrason. “When you map out the power of the automotive and mobility ecosystem, clients from around the world can easily see an opportunity for their company to be successful here in Michigan.”

Looking at the entire map of Michigan provides a view of all assets across the state making it clear that Michigan is the automotive mobility state.

View the map here. Also, check back for updates as we continue to expand the map.

In Case You Missed It: A Conversation with Jonathan Jennings

In a special convening on Jan.13, MICHauto investor CEOs had an opportunity to connect virtually with Jonathan Jennings, vice president of Global Commodity Purchasing and Supplier Technical Assistance for Ford Motor Company.

Jennings has been with Ford for more than 28 years and is a mechanical engineer by trade. He has worked in several different functions that span manufacturing, manufacturing engineering, quality, purchasing, and product engineering across the U.S. and internationally.

His latest role has proven to be uniquely challenging as he transitioned during the peak of COVID-19. Jennings says he appreciates that the situation accelerated his learning within the company, allowing him to challenge himself and his team to be more nimble and to immediately engage with the supply base. One challenge that several supplier CEOs related to is the ongoing balance between managing tactically day-to-day, while also ensuring adequate time for planning strategically for a successful future.

With Jim Farley now at the helm as CEO of Ford, there is a new energy backed company-wide on executing “The Plan.”  Jennings highlighted a few key areas that are especially critical to future growth for Ford:

  • Capitalize on strengths and build upon areas we know are strong.
  • Disrupt themselves to compete beyond automotive, in software and hardware.
  • Focus on electrification to meet compliance and, more importantly, provide the product and the services that win customers.

During the Q&A portion, several questions were brought up by supplier CEOs related to current events and impacts to production as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the supply chain and vehicle production. And while there is no crystal ball to know what 2021 will look like, there is a concerted effort to stay focused on taking action in the first half of the year, collectively with the supply base, to position for a positive second half in what is expected to be another extremely fluid year.

When asked how Ford keeps its plan front and center with employees, Jennings said that the company is laser focused. In every meeting, the question is asked if this supports the plan and propels us forward. It is this type of focus that is important for the automotive and mobility industry. Having the discipline to schedule strategic “think” time to reflect on what the company is doing strategically and competitively is another way for the team to stay on course.

Asked by Glenn Stevens Jr. which Ford vehicle Jennings is most excited about, he says the Mustang Mach-E is a very special vehicle. Driving the MACH-E, Jennings says, he can see how people do not want to go back once they have driven electrical vehicles. It is not just the incredible design and appearance of the vehicle, but the customer interface with the vehicle that really locks it in as a standout. Not surprisingly, the Ford Mustang Mach-E was announced this week as North American Utility Vehicle of the Year™.

CEO Spotlight: Jay Sandhu of NYX, LLC

Jay Sandhu is the chief executive director for NYX, LLC, a market-leading provider of interior, under-hood, and technology solutions for the automotive industry. MICHauto had the chance to speak with Sandhu and hear more about his achievements and motivations.

What is an accomplishment you are most proud of personally or professionally?

I am proud of the management team we have built here at NYX. I have seen them grow and handle challenges with speed and confidence.

What advice do you have for the next generation?

Find what you are good at and work really hard at that. It will build your self-confidence and will allow you to be successful.

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

It is a very exciting time to be in automotive. There is lots of innovation and change happening in our industry, and Michigan is still the epicenter for our industry.

What are you grateful for?

My family and the dedication of our NYX team.

When is it okay to encourage risk among your team?

When you can fully understand the downside from the risk and are willing to accept and manage that outcome.

How do you keep your team motivated in the face of conflicts or obstacles?

Focus on the big picture, understand the challenge, and believe in your team that you can overcome the obstacle.