Gretchen Whitmer

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is a lifelong Michigander.  She is a lawyer, an educator, former prosecutor, State Representative and Senator.  She was the first woman to lead a Senate caucus. But the most important title she boasts is MOM. Inspired by her family, she’s devoted her life to building a stronger Michigan for everyone.

Governor Whitmer was elected to the House of Representatives in 2000 and elected to the Michigan State Senate in 2006 where she served as the Senate Democratic Leader. In the 2018 gubernatorial election, Governor Whitmer won all 83 counties in the primary and won the general election with 53 percent of the vote. Since taking her oath of office, she has put together the most diverse cabinet in our state’s history and has signed executive directives to clean up our drinking water, end discrimination in state government based on sexual orientation and gender identity, secure equal pay for equal work, and expand opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses. She has led bipartisan negotiations to lower Michiganders’ auto insurance and led a bipartisan group of legislators and business, education, and labor leaders to make sure every Michigander has a path to a high wage skill.

Governor Whitmer is committed to solving the problems Michiganders face every day. She has put a bold budget plan on the table that will ensure every Michigander has a great public education and a path to a good-paying job, every community has clean, safe drinking water, and everyone can drive to work or drop their kids at school safely, without blowing a tire or cracking a windshield.

Kristen Tabar

Group Vice President, Vehicle Development and Engineering, Toyota North America Research and Development

Kristen Tabar is group vice president of vehicle development and engineering at Toyota Motor North American Research and Development (TMNA R&D) in York Township, Mich., responsible for vehicle development design engineering teams for Toyota’s North American operations. In this role, Tabar directs the vehicle development strategy, introducing new technology and systems, and working with North American manufacturing centers and local suppliers to deliver vehicles matching customer expectations and Toyota’s high level of quality.

Passionate about women’s leadership, Tabar supports a range of outreach and continuing development initiatives related to STEM education for women. Currently, she serves on Toyota’s Diversity Advisory Board, Audit Committee, and Investment Council.

Tabar joined Toyota in 1992 as an engineer, responsible for vehicle audio component development. Tabar earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Legislators, auto industry leaders discuss supporting electric vehicle growth in Michigan


Contact: Rachel Perkins, Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications, (517) 333-1606
Video recording of event:

ROCHESTER HILLS – Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe) gathered with automotive industry leaders Monday morning at a roundtable to discuss the future of the electric vehicle (EV) industry, what policies are needed to support EV infrastructure and how Michigan can support the advancement of the EV industry.

In June 2019, McMorrow introduced a bipartisan four-bill package that would support the growth of electric vehicles in Michigan and establish the nation’s first statewide charging network.

“Michigan built the American automotive industry, but it’s an industry that’s changing more rapidly now than any other time before,” said Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak). “No other state has the history, talent and capability to design and build the next generation of electric vehicles, but we need to have the infrastructure in place to support that development. It’s critical that the legislature and the Governor work together to move forward on positioning Michigan to be a leader in the future of this industry.”

“These bills encourage our state to create a collaborative and coordinated plan, working with private companies, small businesses, utilities and various state departments to build out the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, making Michigan the first fully networked state,” said Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe). “This electric vehicle legislation would preserve good automotive jobs as the industry continues to shift, reduce taxes on businesses and encourage those who stop to charge vehicles to put dollars back into our local economies while they wait. This bill gets it done for Michigan residents and our state as a whole.”

“Ford is committed to electrification and has announced plans to invest more than $11B by 2022 to deliver all-new hybrid and fully electric vehicles, including the all-new Mustang Mach-E and our best-selling F-150 which will be produced right here in Dearborn, Michigan,” Ford Motor Company said in a statement. “We need key stakeholders and government partners to work collaboratively to accelerate deployment of the necessary EV infrastructure to ensure successful consumer adoption of this important future technology.”

“GM believes in an all-electric, zero emissions future,” said Brian O’Connell, regional director of state government relations at GM. “We are committed to investing, incentivizing or working with companies to bring charging solutions to the market to best serve customers. We continue to collaborate on a holistic approach to EV infrastructure using a shared charging standard.”

“The next generation of the automobile is quickly evolving from concept to deployment. As electric vehicles begin navigating Michigan’s roads, we will require the sufficient necessary infrastructure to support them,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto, and vice president of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “I deeply appreciate the commitment that Sen. McMorrow, Rep. Joe Bellino, and others in our Legislature have to addressing this issue and to maintaining Michigan’s position as the world’s center of mobility innovation.”

“The world is moving toward an automated, shared, and connected mobility future – and it is all going to happen on an electrified platform,” said Cory Connolly, vice president of policy at the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. “Investments in charging infrastructure like those included in the package of bills led by Sen. McMorrow and Rep. Bellino are crucial to make this transition possible and to help unleash private sector innovation

The bipartisan package includes:

  • Senate Bill 406 and House Bill 4786Would create the Electric Vehicle Council within the Michigan Department of Transportation to create a statewide, comprehensive charging infrastructure plan to expand Michigan’s charging network in a cost-effective way.Sponsored by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Tim Sneller (D-Burton)
  • Senate Bill 408 and House Bill 4787Would allow the state to install or lease space for EV charging stations at state park and rides.Sponsored by Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor)
  • Senate Bill 407 and House Bill 4788Would allow the state to install or lease space for installation of EV charging stations in state parks.Sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Township) and Rep. Julie Alexander (R-Jackson)
  • Senate Bill 409 and House Bill 4789

    Would create tax incentives for small businesses and multi-unit housing to install EV charging stations.Sponsored by Sen. Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Township) and Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe)



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.