Top Automotive Executives to Meet with Legislators on MICHauto Policy Priorities; State Senator Wayne Schmidt Named Legislator of the Year

DETROIT (May 17, 2018) – Today, MICHauto, a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, convenes 23 automotive executives for meetings with 27 state legislators in Lansing. For the fifth consecutive year, MICHauto has brought together the automotive industry and legislators to discuss the impact of the industry across the state. This year, industry leaders identified policy priorities that are most important to their continued growth.

The 2018 policy priorities focus on the following areas:

  • Industry Talent Pipeline: Development of a strong talent pipeline for the automotive industry and next-generation mobility development.
  • Connected and Automated Vehicle R&D and Testing: Ensure that Michigan remains at the forefront for companies and research institutions.
  • International Trade: Encourage productive efforts to promote fair trade through the pursuit of high-standard trade agreements.

View the full policy priorities.

“The MICHauto policy priorities were created with the automotive industry and represent their thoughts on what we need to focus on to ensure future economic success,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Chamber. “Meeting with legislators is crucial to ensuring that policymakers understand the industry’s issues, opportunities, and our collective economic impact.”

Additionally, each year, MICHauto recognizes a distinguished legislator for his or her commitment to the state and the automotive industry. This year’s honoree state Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) will be recognized during a luncheon reception between meetings.

Sen. Schmidt’s commitment to automated vehicle R&D, his sponsorship and advocacy on behalf of the Good Jobs for Michigan legislative package, and his support for modernization and expansion of the Soo Locks, all serve as compelling testaments to his leadership in supporting Michigan’s largest industry and creating jobs across the state.

“I am honored to be named Legislator of the Year,” Schmidt said. “The policy priorities outlined by MICHauto highlight the importance of protecting our state’s legacy automotive industry. As Michigan positions itself to lead the industry’s transformation, I look forward to working with our industry to protect its future.”

Past recipients of the Legislator of the Year award include Sens. Steve Bieda (D-Warren), Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) and Mike Kowall (R-White Lake).

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.

MICHauto Names Sen. Ken Horn Legislator of the Year; American Axle’s Bill Smith Honored for Volunteerism

By Daniel Lai

MICHauto presented Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) its 2016 Legislator of the Year award at its Annual Meeting at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn this week. As chair of the Michigan Senate’s Economic Development and International Investment Committee, Horn was instrumental in the passage of a four-bill package aimed at modernizing guidelines for driverless vehicle research and operation within the state.

Senate bills 995-998, collectively known as the SAVE (Safe Autonomous Vehicles) Act, were signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder on Dec. 9.

“Michigan, for much of its history, has been known throughout the world as the home of the automobile, and it is only appropriate that we continue to be a pioneer in the industry,” Horn said. “Data shows that more than 90 percent of auto accidents are caused because of human error. If we can remain an integral part of the development of technology to reduce these errors, I think it will be a great move for our state.”

Bill Smith, executive director of government affairs and community relations for American Axle & Manufacturing Inc., was named Volunteer of the Year for his tireless commitment to protecting, retaining and growing Michigan’s mobility and automotive industry. Smith serves on MICHauto’s steering and talent committees and has been instrumental in promoting exciting, high-paying manufacturing careers to students across the state through MICHauto’s Discover Auto program and facility tours.

“I can’t think of anything more fun than attracting new business and promoting the automotive industry in Michigan,” Smith said in accepting the award.

For Auto Industry, Attracting and Retaining Millennial Talent Requires an Inclusive Company Culture