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.

Happy Holidays from MICHauto

In the past year, we have witnessed more tragedy and triumph than we could have ever imagined. Throughout my career in the automotive industry, I have never seen people and companies do what has been done in the last nine months. You looked out for your employees and colleagues, helped mobilize the “Arsenal of Health” to support front-line workers, and worked to provide a safe workplace when the wheels of the industry began to turn again. Together we worked to keep manufacturing open for our economy, for our communities, and for our people.

Our team at MICHauto has been with you every step of this journey. I am extremely proud of the work we have done. Throughout the last nine months, we have advocated to keep manufacturing open on behalf of the automotive industry. Most notably, we reached out to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on your behalf, urging for the reopening of manufacturing. As a direct result of MICHauto’s lobbying, the state allowed a critical ramp-up period for automotive suppliers to safely and productively restart the industry’s supply chain. Manufacturing reopened on May 11, 2020, and has stayed open since.

One of MICHauto’s goals has been to raise awareness of the impact the automotive and mobility industry has on our state’s economy. In the MI COVID-19 Priorities Poll released this week by the Detroit Regional Chamber, it was gratifying to learn one-third of Michiganders agree – manufacturing is the most important area of our economy to keep open.

On behalf of MICHauto, I want to say thank you. We are grateful for your partnership, support, and collaboration. It is a privilege to serve as the leading voice and advocate for Michigan’s automotive and mobility community. We value the opportunity to serve your organization and look forward to building a stronger future for our state’s signature industry.

As we reflect on what we have been through and the opportunities that lies ahead, stay safe and be well. On behalf of the MICHauto Team, I wish you, your families, and your colleagues all the best for this holiday season and the year ahead.


Best Regards,

Glenn Stevens Jr.

Executive Director, MICHauto;

Vice President, Automotive and Mobility Initiatives,

Detroit Regional Chamber

CEO Spotlight: Lisa Lunsford

Lisa Lunsford is the co-founder and CEO of Global Strategic Supply Solutions (GS3), a supply chain integrator providing metal-form manufacturing and light assembly services since 2010. In September, Lunsford was named Chair of the MICHauto Board of Directors. MICHauto had the opportunity to speak with Lunsford and hear more about her professional accomplishments, inspirations, and more.

What is your number one priority as CEO?

As the leader of my company, my number one priority is growth. However, our success hinges on a wide range of interconnected priorities, like managing risks associated with incoming opportunities; leveraging existing technologies while managing the adoption of new innovations; and investing in people who are integral to our continuing success.

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

I’m honored that I now have the opportunity to work with the MICHauto team as the Board Chair to collaborate, discuss, and act on strategies that will advance, sustain, and promote the automotive industry. Building a career working with the right people and processes to create successful solutions has prepared me for the challenges MICHauto will face going forward, bringing together people and ideas from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, and putting those assets to work in a way that brings out the best in our industry.

Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?

Among the many voices of wisdom that have guided me over the years, I’m grateful that I can pick up the phone and talk through a tough situation with Jean Chamberlain, former executive director of the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce. Jean is a pioneer in Michigan politics, including her career working with the late L. Brooks Patterson, and serving as the first and only South Oakland Governmental Liaison. I admire her honesty and clarity, and I go to her when I need advice from someone who does not — and will not — sugarcoat the facts.

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

Because the auto industry is in your backyard, you have the unique opportunity to experience each individual aspect of the automotive ecosystem up-close, from refining petrochemicals to mobility technology — all of the elements that touch our industry. Now, once you do that, I suggest that you go out and explore the world, absorbing the best lessons from wherever you can learn them, and then bring that knowledge and experience back to add to our region’s collective value, which will drive the industry forward.

What is your favorite car and why?

The 1970 Mach 1 Mustang. You never forget the first car you fall in love with, until you drive a Mach 1.

APMA 2020 Conference: Why Invest in Partnerships

For the first time in 68 years, the APMA Conference was held virtually Nov. 18-20 to focus on Canada’s renaissance in automotive. Much like neighboring Detroit, Canada is focusing on zero emissions by 2050 and working with OEMs and research partners to progress in the electric vehicle (EV) sector. Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association opened the three-day event by celebrating the recent commitments of Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and General Motors Co. (GM) to grow the automotive ecosystem and focus on EVs. The 72 industry experts participating in the conference walked through the opportunities, threats, challenges, and aspirations of the sector.

Carolyn Sauer, senior director of MICHauto participated in a panel session, Why Invest in Partnerships, moderated by Matt Johnson, executive director of the Institute of Border Logistics and Security for the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation along with four other industry experts. Based in the Windsor-Detroit channel, this panel explored the opportunities that could blossom from bi-national partnerships and investments. Especially in this new environment, the importance of investing in partners and sharing a connected approach allows for:

  • Building and growth of our research and talent pipeline.
  • Strengthening our trade and global competitiveness.
  • Connecting and growing our innovation assets.
  • Building a more inclusive and diverse ecosystem.

With more than 26% of North American light vehicle production being manufactured in the Great Lakes Region across Michigan and Canada, the sharing of resources in manufacturing and IT across our region has been prevalent. The pandemic has driven a trend towards localization, and this poses a significant opportunity for our region to lead the globe in new technology and EVs.

When it comes to emerging technology, many people think of Silicon Valley as a leader in forward thinking and new technology development. Asked how Michigan and Canada can work together to improve regions ranking, Hind Ourahou, senior mobility strategist for the City of Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation, says there is no comparison.

“Silicon Valley emerged as this IT and software powerhouse that immediately attracted young professionals with its new way of working and forward thinking. But Silicon Valley does not have the longstanding history and capability of making things. The only place in North America where you can overlay the circle of manufacturing and IT is right here. The Great Lakes region is really where it all comes together,” said Sauer.

Collectively, panelists agreed that more can be done to spread the word about our unique collaborations and opportunities in the region. We need to continue working together, not just to advance technology, but to promote our brand as an industry – high-tech, real, and thriving. Software developers, programmers, and data scientists are needed to make it work. There is something really special about Detroit’s partnership with Canada.

“We’re the real powerhouse that’s going to keep moving this forward.  We make an impact, we make the product, and we make the change,” said Sauer.

Mobility and Industry 4.0: Working Together for Michigan’s Future

This article was authored by MICHauto Executive Director Glenn Stevens Jr. as a guest blog for Automation Alley. The piece discusses the intersection of mobility and Industry 4.0.

In 1901 Ransom E. Olds set up the first automobile manufacturing plant in Lansing, Michigan. Two years later, Henry Ford launched the Ford Motor Company, which would soon build the Model-T. Although Olds utilized conveyor systems in his first plant, the revolutionary development that enabled the mass production of vehicles did not come until 1913 when the modern assembly line was introduced at the Highland Park Ford plant.

Now, 119 years later, we are witnessing two significant manufacturing developments unfold in the Detroit region. The new FCA assembly plant and General Motors Co.’s Factory Zero will not only be manufacturing world-class vehicles featuring electrified propulsion systems, but they will also be enabled by the technologies of Industry 4.0. At the industry’s peak in the United States there were hundreds of companies designing, engineering, and manufacturing light vehicles. While the industry settled into several major players for decades, we are now witnessing another significant inflection point. The current mobility transformation is driven by major technologies in the areas of connected, automated, electrified, and shared.

The electric vehicle (EV) explosion, which was initiated by Elon Musk, has more than taken hold. In fact, what we are witnessing in the EV OEM world is strikingly like the growth of entrepreneurs and innovators in the market growth for manufacturers in the early 20th century. Long ago, there were companies such as DeSoto and Packard. Although they no longer exist, our familiar hometown OEMs Ford, General Motors, and FCA have grown and thrived globally, leading the mobility transformation. In addition, the EV industry has spawned new companies following in Tesla’s footprint, including Lucid, Lordstown Motors, Bollinger Motors, Rivian, Fisker, and Atlis. These modern automotive companies are the Studebakers and Tuckers of today. Just like in the last century, there will be winners, acquisitions, and failures. The winners and losers will include the regions of the world where new technologies are created and manufactured.

The vehicles of yesterday and the new innovations of next-generation mobility have been brought to life through innovative design and manufacturing processes. Today, Industry 4.0 and Mobility go hand in hand – one enabling the other. Walking through today’s engineering and manufacturing centers you will see robots, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, and other cutting-edge technologies. In both the plants and vehicles there are two major common technologies: connectivity of the internet of things and cybersecurity. Today’s data-driven, automated, and extremely connected plants are producing vehicles enabled by tens of millions of lines of code that must be protected by the latest in cybersecurity technology.

In the automotive industry in Michigan and globally the buzzword has overwhelming been “mobility.” Fortunately, we have organizations like Automation Alley that have led the way as thought leaders to ensure our region advances and leads with Industry 4.0 technologies. The conversation around mobility and electrification must include what drives the design, engineering, testing, and manufacturing of today’s vehicles and will enable our leadership in the opportunity of next-generation mobility. For Michigan to lead in the future, the industry must be globally competitive in how we manufacture and bring new modes of transportation to life.

The mobility and Industry 4.0 conversations are directly linked. In fact, this is Michigan’s competitive advantage, if we seize it. Revolutionary technologies in creating and manufacturing vehicles will again enable mass production, but this time it will be Michigan’s leadership in next-generation mobility vehicles and technologies.

I would submit that there are two driving forces behind the mobility inflection point: global societal changes and economic opportunity.  Mobility technology must help solve the global issues of congestion and thus, emissions, safety, traffic fatalities, and injuries, as well as the ability of our citizens to be connected and have mobility solutions. People must be able to access health care, work, and education for economic growth, and mobility technologies can help solve global issues instead of contributing to them. The other opportunity is economic.  Michigan’s automotive industry has an economic contribution to the state of over $225 billion, while the global auto industry is typically described as being a $3 trillion market.  As we look to the future, personal mobility in the shared use economy is projected to be upwards of a $7 trillion industry. The opportunity for Michigan is to seize on this market potential, but the success will depend on the collaboration of companies, organizations, and very critically the talent required for both Industry 4.0 and mobility technologies. The opportunity to leverage our manufacturing heritage to create the vehicles and technologies of the future is one we collectively must seize. The alternative is not an option.

*Originally published on the Automation Alley Blog.

Statewide Engineering Job Postings Indicate Automotive Industry Still Hiring

COVID-19 has had significant negative impacts on Michigan’s economy and workforce. In April 2020, during the first lockdown order, the unemployment rate in Michigan jumped from 4.0% in March 2020 to 23.6%. Rates have slowly decreased to 8.2% in September and 5.5% in October 2020. Unfortunately, this is still higher than the pre-shutdown rates.

Contradictory to what the unemployment rate might indicate, statewide engineering job postings have not followed this significant negative trend. In fact, between January and October 2020 (YTD), an average of 2,547 engineers were hired per month. This is not significant compared to the 2019 average of 2,711 monthly engineering hires, as shared in the 2020 Michigan is Automobility Report. There is evidence of the impacts of COVID-19 when analyzing the unique engineering job postings per month, however. Again, it is not as significant as may be assumed. Prior to the shutdown in March, there were 13,050 unique engineering job postings in January 2020. The lowest point is in September 2020 with 7,744 unique job postings, nearly half the amount in January 2020. The trend finally shifts upward in October 2020 with 8,226 unique job postings, only 2,700 less than in December 2019.

The slight downward trend in unique engineering job postings compared to the steady number of engineering hires per month indicates the automotive industry has been impacted by the shutdown and subsequent economic effects from COVID-19, however, it will still be a driving force in Michigan’s recovery and return to a pre-COVID-19 unemployment rate. As Michigan’s largest industry and the heart of the state’s economy, it’s important that it continues operations to generate revenue and job opportunities.

There has not been a change in the top counties or cities posting engineering jobs. MICHauto shared in the 2020 Michigan is Automobility Report the top counties were Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb; and the top cities were Detroit, Auburn Hills, and Dearborn. This remains true year-to-date. However, there has been a slight change in the type of engineering jobs posted. Top engineering jobs posted in Michigan in 2019 were design engineers, controls engineers, product engineers, quality assurance engineers, and project engineers. The top postings in 2020 (YTD) are controls engineers, manufacturing engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and quality engineers. This may indicate a slight shift in the type of products in production or an effort to reorganize the workforce within companies.

To see updates to engineering job postings, check out the MICHauto Automotive Indicators page. View the 2019 job postings statistics from the 2020 Michigan is Automobility report here.


CADIA Connects: MICHauto Takeover with Dennis W. Archer Jr.

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, MICHauto hosted a takeover of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement’s CADIA Connects series. In the session, Carolyn Sauer, senior director of MICHauto, had the opportunity to virtually sit down with Dennis W. Archer Jr., CEO of Ignition Media Group and president and founding partner of Archer Corporate Services, to discuss the current impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and restaurants, the racial injustice inflection point we are in, and the future of Detroit.

Having come from a strong family background of civic involvement, Archer has always prioritized giving back. In his business endeavors, people recognize the strong focus on “doing well while doing good,” which is why the COVID-19 pandemic and most recent state orders have weighed heavily on his mind. As a business owner with a sense of responsibility for his team, Archer is working through how to help support them during this latest pause.

On a deeper level, the conversation turned to the current inflection point around race, equity, diversity, and inclusion. It is a topic we have seen rise to the surface many times in the past, only to be left behind without any real systemic change. So, what is different this time? Archer believes that corporations are responding in a positive way, with General Motors Co.’s CEO Mary Barra, who is at the forefront of GM’s goal of becoming the most inclusive company in the world. As a member of the General Motors Inclusion Advisory Board, Archer reflects on how important it is for leaders to set the right tone.

“I would say that not only Detroit, [but] nationally I see what I believe and hope to be a much more sustained difference in people’s behavior,” said Archer. “Now the true measure of that will be in a year from now or two years from now to see if the same level of importance and same emphasis is placed. But I see a lot of companies, I see municipalities really taking a step forward and trying to make foundational change, systematic change.”

As people ask what we can do today to really impact systemic change, Archer’s recommendations are clear:

  1. Self Reflect: Whether you are a larger corporation, small business, or an individual, you must recognize your weaknesses, blind spots, and prejudices. You have to acknowledge those first or you can’t make any real change.
  2. Be Intentional: This is not a topic that can be solved by putting out a statement or an email. You have to put in the hard work if you want systemic change.
  3. Look to the Outside: Fiscally, consider hiring a consultant to give an outside assessment. If leadership in a company has been the same, then getting another perspective can help get down to how the cultural environment is perceived by current employees, what is being done for retention, and what questions are being asked in exit interviews.

Talking about how Detroit can evolve over the next few years, Archer believes the city is on a great glidepath, despite the bumps in the road caused by a pandemic and an unusual political cycle. Detroit is positioned well to come through any potential economic downturn, with enough investments and companies moving into the city, said Archer. Even if we do a hit a recessionary period, Detroit will sustain and continue the path forward.

Our automotive industry has been slow to move the needle regarding diversity at the top, as MICHauto’s Glenn Stevens Jr. and CADIA’s Cheryl Thompson pointed out in their recent op-ed, Industry Diversity Needed Now. Archer’s take on what must fundamentally change brings us back to the talent pipeline and intentionality, not just in automotive, but across corporate America. Companies have to be intentional about wanting to be inclusive.

“Back in the 70s and late 60s when a lot of diversity programs came to be, then it was the right thing to do. Everyone felt it was the right thing to do. It was important to have diversity. Now, it’s a business imperative,” said Archer. “It just makes business sense that your workforce, board of directors, your suppliers, and your senior leadership reflect the constituents or consumers that you serve.”

Dennis W. Archer Jr. is the CEO of Ignition Media Group, president and founding partner of Archer Corporate Services, and creator and managing partner of Central Kitchen + Bar.  He is also highly engaged in civic and philanthropic endeavors, including Past Chair of the Detroit Regional Chamber Board of Directors where he also sits on the executive committee. Recently appointed by GM CEO Mary Barra to serve on the General Motors Inclusion Advisory Board, Archer continues to be sought after for inclusion on other boards and committees to share his knowledge and insights. Learn more at