Katelyn Davis Joins MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber as Director

Katelyn Davis joins the Detroit Regional Chamber as director of MICHauto. In this role, she will support and lead planning and execution for MICHauto, as the statewide automotive and mobility industry association, and the organization’s growth as an integral part of Forward Detroit, the Chamber’s economic development initiative.

Davis’ seven-year career has been dedicated to Michigan’s automotive industry. Most recently she served as a corporate affairs and communications specialist with Yazaki North America, Inc., where she was responsible for the company’s internal and external communications and corporate marketing strategy and implementation. Prior to that, she worked for WPP’s GTB (formerly Team Detroit) on the communications team at Ford Motor Co.

“We are extremely pleased to have Katelyn join the MICHauto team. Her background and experience in the auto industry, combined with her expertise in marketing and communications, made the perfect match and will be critical to achieving our mission and goals,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Chamber.

Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from Grand Valley State University and completed graduate studies in new media communications at Wayne State University.

In addition, Davis is an acting board member for the Automotive Public Relations Council (APRC) and played an active role on MICHauto’s Awareness Committee.

She resides in Wyandotte, Michigan.

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About MICHauto

MICHauto is a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive industry in Michigan. MICHauto embodies a public-private strategy, championing Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive industry and providing a platform for collaboration on advocacy, business attraction and retention, and talent attraction and development. Serving as the unified voice of Michigan’s automotive cluster, MICHauto works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Original Equipment Suppliers Association, Center for Automotive Research and other Michigan and national organizations. To learn more visit MICHauto.org.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

Economic Impact of State’s Auto Suppliers Key Topic at Annual MICHauto Legislative Reception

MICHauto’s fourth annual Supplier Fair and Legislative Reception connected more than a dozen suppliers with state lawmakers to continue the discussion on the economic impact of suppliers across the state. The reception, held May 3 at Troppo in Lansing, featured more than 50 attendees, including 25 legislators and six legislative staff members.

Suppliers at the event included American Axle & Manufacturing, BorgWarner, DENSO International America Inc., HELLA Inc., Lacks Enterprise Inc., Magna International Inc., MAHLE Industries Inc., Phoenix Contact, Shiloh Industries, and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America.

The evening included a presentation of MICHauto’s Legislator of the Year award to state Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, for his service to the state and his ongoing commitment to Michigan’s automotive industry. Horn was a key author of legislation that supports the testing and development of autonomous and connected vehicles in Michigan.

German Automotive Supplier Mahle Gets Up-Close Look at Michigan’s Automotive and Mobility Leadership

Showcasing Michigan as a major global automotive and mobility epicenter, MICHauto, in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), led a one-day tour of the region in March for 12 executives from Mahle, a leading global auto components supplier.

The tour highlighted the region’s research and development facilities, OEMs, advanced manufacturers, leading suppliers, education institutions and next-generation mobility testing assets.

“Working closely through the Michigan Mobility Initiative, this was the first opportunity to really leverage the Planet M campaign to tell the state’s automotive and mobility leadership story to a visiting group of executives,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto.

“It was an opportunity for us to establish the perspective and potentially change perceptions that not only is Michigan an automotive capital because of its vast resources, testing sites and development work, but also it is a leader in connected and automated vehicle innovation,” he added.

The tour included welcome remarks by Gov. Rick Snyder and a tour of the University of Michigan Battery Labs, Toyota North America Technical Center, MCity, Lear Innovation Center in Detroit, TechStars Mobility and Shinola.

The tour was preceded by a presentation by John Maddox, CEO of the American Center for Mobility, and Kevin Kerrigan, senior vice president of the MEDC’s Automotive Office, who spoke on Michigan’s e-mobility economy.

Following the tour, attendees enjoyed networking during a strolling reception at the Detroit Regional Chamber, featuring remarks by Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility for the city of Detroit, and Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

View photos from the tour here.

MICHauto Student Forum Offers Glimpse of Exciting, In-Demand Careers

By Daniel A. Washington 

Helping to debunk common myths about the auto and mobility industry, MICHauto, in partnership with Ford Motor Co., Oakland University and Planet M, hosted its “Opportunity Auto.Mobility” student career forum on Feb. 16 that included a keynote and networking reception for more than 70 students. The event aims to better engage prospective talent with auto industry experts and employers.

“Auto manufacturers are looking for people who will bring a fresh perspective to the table,” said Jessica Robinson, director of city solutions (Ford Smart Mobility) for Ford, during her keynote address.

Robinson shared her journey leading up to her current role at Ford that included stops at Zipcar, one of the first ride-sharing companies in Detroit, and startup accelerator Techstars.

Robinson reiterated that in today’s industry, anyone with an interest can find a niche for their skills to thrive.

“Starting my career with Zipcar helped me understand the number of opportunities the auto industry can provide,” said Robinson.  “Who would have ever thought an anthropology major would work in the auto and mobility space?”

In addition, a panel of former Oakland students who currently work in the automotive industry discussed the possibilities of international travel, positive work culture and upward career mobility that their jobs offer.

“The autonomous tech space is exploding right now and is offering a number of opportunities to those in a number of fields to work and thrive in a creative and innovative way,” said Robinson.

The panel was moderated by MICHauto’s Rob Luce and included panelists: Mike Dudek, manager of commodity purchasing for Faurecia North America Inc.; Samantha Roberts, communications co-op for Yazaki North America Inc.; Elise Smith, manager of human resources and business partner for American Axle & Manufacturing Inc.; and Cassandra Traynor, manager of human resources for Brose North America Inc.

Following the presentations, students discussed employment opportunities with 16 auto-related companies at the networking reception. Companies in attendance represented a number of counties across the region showcasing the diversity and vibrancy of the industry.

Daniel A. Washington is a marketing and communications coordinator at the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Tech Startup Lessons from Israel: Entrepreneurs Thrive with Collaboration, Government Support

A robust talent pipeline. Government support for startups. Strong academic and STEM education programs. No fear of failure. These are just a few of the key ingredients that contribute to Israel’s status as a top five global technology startup hub.

In an effort to better understand the Israeli ecosystem of innovation, the Detroit Regional Chamber recently attended a five-day, fact-finding mission to the country led by Deloitte and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. It was held concurrently during Gov. Rick Snyder’s Israel trip to enhance business ties with Michigan.

The delegation included chief information technology officers and executives from AT&TConsumers EnergyGeneral Motors, Henry Ford Health System, and nine additional organizations across the state.

During the week, the delegation met with key decision-makers from 12 leading technology startups and attended the 2017 CyberTech Conference in Tel Aviv to hear from cyber experts from multi-national corporations, startups, private and corporate investors, and venture capital firms. Gov. Snyder provided opening remarks at the Conference (pictured).

The group also met with Avi Hasson, Israel’s chief scientist, and received an up-close look at AT&T’s latest innovation center in Raanana, GM’s Advanced Technical Center in Tel Aviv, and Israel’s Startup Nation Central, a nonprofit focused on getting innovation in front of leading companies around the world.

Other stops included meetings with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Talpiot Program, an elite training program for students who excel in science and technology; and CYBERBIT, a global leader in cybersecurity and intelligence.

Building Relationships to Maintain Michigan’s Mobility Leadership

In sheer size comparison, Michigan is 11 times larger than the entire country of Israel. Despite that, estimates put Israel’s startup companies at nearly 1,000 in a given year.

Driving this entrepreneurial boom is a combination of Israel’s mandated military service and the resulting talent development, and robust seed funding from the government and venture capital firms for startups.

Public and private collaboration, along with a dedicated source of government funding, is an area where Detroit and Michigan can draw lessons.

“With more than 90,000 engineers, Detroit is also an innovation center with a similar ecosystem. But where our companies are built to drive innovation internally to meet the needs of their own customers, Israel is more externally focused,” said Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Chamber.

“The trick is, how do we take our innovation culture and flip it around to encourage more collaboration and information sharing, especially as we look to be a leader in solving issues around global mobility moving forward?” Robinson added.

He said one thing is clear:

“Israel is a market Michigan must have a close relationship with not only because of the volume, but also the quality of innovation taking place. They have a culture that asks partners, ‘bring us your problems’ – and there are no shortage of challenges in delivering autonomous driving to the world,” he said.

“The Chamber and MICHauto are committed to further enhancing the connections between our established automotive industry and venture capital community with the technology ecosystem in Israel. Doing so will be a win-win for both of our communities,” Robinson added.

For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at jrobinson@detroitchamber.com or 313.596.0352.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at mhamilton@detroitchamber.com, or 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.

MICHauto Convenes Industry Experts, Educators to Share Insight on State’s Talent Challenges

MICHauto hosted 55 automotive industry experts and regional educators Wednesday to discuss the status of Michigan’s automotive industry and next-generation talent needs. The event kicked off with four presentations focusing on the state’s talent pipeline and the convergence of technology and mobility. Presenters provided startling facts regarding mobility, manufacturing and the growing talent gap:

  • Every job in manufacturing creates another 2.5 new jobs in local goods or services
  • “Software developer” was the top manufacturing job posting from 2010 through 2015
  • Michigan is responsible for 80 percent of the nation’s automotive research and development
  • 65 percent of children entering kindergarten today will work in jobs that are not yet defined

Following the presentations, Square One Education Network Chief Technology Officer Michael Tucker moderated a town hall discussion that explored key issues regarding the growing talent shortage in Michigan’s automotive sector and ways in which local industry leaders can collaborate with educators to promote exciting, well-paying careers in the automotive and mobility field.

Techstars Alumni: Detroit is Built for Entrepreneurs

Detroit is the place to be for aspiring entrepreneurs. That was the message a panel of three Techstars alumni emphasized during a candid discussion about their experience participating in the three-month startup accelerator program. The panel was part of a week of programming at the North American International Auto Show’s new Automobili-D exhibit.

“The media doesn’t do a good job telling Detroit’s story. I fell in love with the city immediately and I know others did, too,” said Rohith Varanasi, co-founder of the cell phone startup, Lunar.

Varanasi was joined on stage by Chris Bailey, CEO and co-founder of Revio; and Greta Cutulenco, CEO and co-founder of Acerta. All three alumni credited their experience with Techstars with invaluable connections to investors, industry mentors and training.

“Learning how to interact with investors and walking us through step-by-step on how to grow our business was very helpful,” Bailey said.

Revio offers cutting-edge safety and security products for the power sports industry, while Acerta focuses on machine-assisted anomaly detection and root cause analysis.

When asked by an audience member whether the startups have become profitable since exiting the Techstars program, all three alumni expressed affirmation for the coming year.

“We’re still growing,” Cutulenco said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without Techstars helping us make connections.”

For more information on Techstars, visit www.techstars.com.

Maven’s Julia Steyn: Technology is ‘Enabler’ for Michigan’s Mobility Future

Closing out programming for this year’s Automobili-D exhibit at the North American International Show, Daniel Howes, columnist for The Detroit News, sat down with Julia Steyn, General Motors’ vice president of urban mobility and Maven, to discuss car-sharing and the future of mobility in Michigan.

“(Mobility) technology keeps moving forward, so you can either look at it as a disruptor or enabler,” said Steyn about the forthcoming challenges facing the automotive industry with the increase of autonomous technology and mobility-sharing platforms. “I prefer to see it as an enabler while continuing to innovate.”

Steyn also spoke on GM’s leadership in car-sharing and mobility as a service during panel discussions earlier in the week. Read the Detroiter’s in-depth interview with Steyn about Detroit and GM’s long-term mobility vision here.

Legal Experts: Liability, Privacy and Cybersecurity Challenges Ahead for Autonomous Technology Adoption

As more automated and driverless technologies are brought to market, questions regarding liability, privacy, data management and cybersecurity could present myriad legal challenges for automakers and suppliers in the not-so-distant future. That was a key message legal experts stressed in a candid conversation on “rights and regulations” on the Automobili-D stage at the North American International Auto Show on Thursday.

Kicking off the discussion, Patrick Seyferth, partner at Bush Seyferth & Paige PLLC, cautioned that the use of loaded language, specifically promoting autonomous vehicles as “saving lives,” should be used sparingly. Citing examples like the death of a Tesla autopilot driver, Seyferth said there is a common misperception that autonomous vehicles will totally eliminate human error and reduce accidents from texting, drunkenness, and other forms of distracted driving. In reality, according to Seyferth, automated vehicles shift human error from the driving to the programming and design.

“I’m not suggesting that autonomous technology is bad, I just think we need to pay a little more attention to what safety advocates are saying,” he said.

Tom Manganello, partner at Warner Norcross & Judd, disagreed with Seyferth’s analysis of safety, stating autonomous tech will be a key catalyst to improving safety on roadways across the world.

“Fatalities have gone up 6,000 per year at a time when cars are the safest they’ve ever been from a passive protection standpoint. So what’s the problem? The problem is people. Will automated vehicle technology prevent all deaths? No. What we will see is a rapid reduction in serious injuries and deaths the more the driver can be taken out of the system,” he said.

Discussion also focused on cybersecurity risk and data protection.

“When you think connectivity, you have to look at your vulnerabilities,” said Jennifer Dukarski, attorney with Butzel Long. “Imagine a nefarious person being able to hack a fleet of police vehicles to learn their exact location.”

Despite the challenges, Dukarski said Michigan is well-positioned to lead in the testing and development of connected and autonomous vehicles with the passage of the Safe Autonomous Vehicles (SAVE) Act.

The panel was moderated by Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto.

As New Technology Emerges, Michigan Can Lead Automotive Revolution

As new technology comes to market, Michigan must not take anything for granted to lead in the race for the connected and autonomous vehicle.

“Technology can transform the auto industry and save thousands of lives,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto.  “The opportunities are endless.”

Stevens led a panel of automotive experts on a discussion focused on connectivity and opportunity during Automobili-D at the North American International Auto Show on Wednesday. Panelists shared their own predictions of the future.

“It’s not only about bringing technology inside the car, but it’s also about connecting that technology to the world around you – using all the data points already collected to work together,” said Peter Brown, chief automotive architect for Wind River.

“Imagine getting in your car and not only having the latest technology to get you from point A to point B, with the quickest and easiest route, but using all the data points to have your parking spot available and already paid for before you get there – in one step,” Brown added.

Panelists agreed that future opportunities will come in four waves: the car, the driver, the road and the city. How can technology be used to make the quality of the car better, increase the convenience of the driver, make the roads safer and help the city with its overall efficiency?

“How we connect the sources of data and how and when to use them is both the opportunity and the challenge,” said Andrew Hart, director of automotive consultancy firm SBD.

Other challenges discussed were concerns about privacy and security. With car-sharing and ride-sharing options becoming more prevalent, cities such as Detroit will also have to consider the challenges of losing revenue in parking fees, traffic tickets and even the decline of car and health insurance costs.

“Developing the technology is indeed an opportunity, but connecting it to the rest of the world takes it to the next level,” Brown said.