Organization to tackle industry challenges and opportunities; elevate state’s position as a leader in the global auto industry
FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 7, 2014) – Gov. Steve Beshear is bringing together Kentucky auto manufacturers, suppliers and supporting entities to create the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association to make the commonwealth an even more prominent automotive powerhouse.
The association will raise awareness to and advocate for Kentucky’s automotive manufacturing sector, create workforce development opportunities, and aggressively recruit workers and operations, Beshear said Monday.
“The goal of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association is to create a unified voice for an industry sector that is profoundly important to our state’s economic health and growth,” Beshear said. “The association will play a vital role in addressing the challenges, solutions and opportunities facing the industry. It will also allow us to highlight successes and elevate the state’s contributions to the global automotive industry.”
For the first time, these groups can work in concert with each other, creating a forum to share best practices and encourage meaningful dialogue and action. The association will take a leading role in creating collaborative partnerships that will advance the auto industry now and in the future.
A 12-member inaugural board of directors, consisting of industry and government leaders, will develop the association and set its strategic goals and activities. Larry Hayes, secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development, has agreed to serve as the inaugural chairman.
“Recognizing the widespread impact of the automotive industry in our state, we sought to create a platform that will further strengthen our position as a leader in the global marketplace,” Hayes said. “The Kentucky Automotive Industry Association was formed hand-in-hand with Kentucky’s auto manufacturers and suppliers. It’s a partnership that I have no doubt will create an environment in which we’ll see tangible results and continued growth for Kentucky’s economy.”
About 14 other states have similar organizations, but Hayes said the Kentucky association will be “more active and more aggressive.”
Board members include:
♦ Larry Hayes, secretary, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
♦ Mike Goss, general manager for external affairs, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc.
♦ Gabby Bruno, regional director for state government relations, Ford Motor Co.
♦ Eric Henning, regional director for state government relations, General Motors Co.
♦ Joe Adamcik, director of planning and strategy, AGC Automotive Americas
♦ Jim Rachlin, president, Metalsa Light Vehicles USA & Australia
♦ Rich Whitaker, vice president, Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems Inc.
♦ Mike Hirsch, vice president of operations for passenger car steering systems, ZF Steering Systems LLC
♦ Doug Cain, CEO, Mubea North America
♦ Brandon Kessinger, vice president and general counsel, Akebono Brake Corp.
♦ Toru (Richard) Kamioke, president & CEO, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc.
♦ Kurt Krug, vice president of North American human resources, INOAC
With more than 1.2 million vehicles produced in 2013, Kentucky ranks third overall in light vehicle production and first per capita. Kentucky’s 460 motor vehicle-related establishments employ nearly 82,000 people. In the past five years, nearly 300 motor vehicle-related projects have been announced statewide, representing more than 17,600 new jobs and $4 billion in new investment. Kentucky’s motor vehicle exports reached a record $5.5 billion last year.