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Tier One Supplier Panel Discusses Talent Gap, Supplier Industry in Michigan Business

In keeping with the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference pillar of education, a group of leading automotive supplier executives took the Conference stage this afternoon to take a look at the supplier talent pool and the current state of foreign supplier operations.

Panelists including Colleen Haley, executive vice president, U.S. OEM business unit, Yazaki North America; John Kennedy, president and CEO, Autocam Corp.; Timothy Leuliette, president and CEO, Visteon Corporation; joined moderator Ramesh “Ray” Telang, greater Michigan market managing partner, PwC. In looking at foreign supplier operations, the panel consensus was that suppliers are compelled to invest where their market is and vehicle production in North America is a small percentage of the world’s production.

The biggest topic of discussion centered around the talent gap and the need for a concentrated effort to enhance the perception of manufacturing jobs. Summing up the discussion, Leuliette defined the automobile as the largest mobile device. Haley expounded on that by saying that according to a recent survey, the most interesting career path to college graduates is consumer products. Her deduction was that suppliers should begin to market the automobile as just that and take advantage of the opportunity to sell their industry as a viable and cutting-edge career path. This session was sponsored by PwC.