2014 Presenters

Thank you to all of the 2014 presenters.

Get a glimpse of the AutoConnect experience by viewing our previous years' recaps in the About section!

Mohamed Abuali Photo  Dr. Mohamed Abuali, FORCAM

Dr. Mohamed Abuali is responsible for leading and managing the full life cycle of FORCAM’s shop floor technology at discrete manufacturing companies in Automotive, Aerospace, Medical Devices, and Oil & Gas. AbuAli brings 15 years of manufacturing experience specializing in program and project management as well as research and development of shop floor technologies. Customers like Audi, BMW, Daimler, BorgWarner, Mahle, Mann+Hummel, Pratt & Whitney, DePuy Synthes, and the WEIR Group; are a snapshot of a diverse user profile of FORCAM's advanced shop floor management solutions.  Abuali has a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering through his studies at the Center for Intelligent Maintenance Systems (IMS) at the University of Cincinnati.

  Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn

Lamar Alexander was born in Maryville, the son of a kindergarten teacher and an elementary school principal. He is a seventh-generation Tennessean. He is the only Tennessean ever popularly elected both governor and U.S. Senator. He has been U.S. Education Secretary and University of Tennessee president. He chaired the National Governors Association and President Reagan's Commission on Americans Outdoors.

When elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, Alexander had spent more adult years in the private sector than in public life. In 1972 he co-founded a Nashville law firm. In 1987 he and his wife and three others, including Bob Keeshan, television’s Captain Kangaroo, founded Corporate Child Care, Inc. The company became publicly traded in 1997 (NASDAQ) and later merged with Bright Horizons, Inc., creating the world’s largest provider of worksite daycare.

Three times between 2007 and 2012, his colleagues elected Sen. Alexander Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference — the third-ranking Republican position in the United States Senate. He is the ranking Senate Republican overseeing education, labor and health, as well as energy appropriations. In his campaign for governor, Alexander walked 1,000 miles across Tennessee in his now-famous red and black plaid shirt. Once elected, he helped Tennessee become the third largest auto producer, the state with the top-rated four-lane highway system and the first state to pay teachers more for teaching well. He started Tennessee’s Governor’s Schools for outstanding students. When he left the governor’s office, the state had a Triple AAA bond rating, fewer employees and no long-term highway debt. He is a classical and country pianist and the author of seven books, including Six Months Off, the story of his family’s life in Australia after he was governor.

Lamar Alexander and Honey Buhler were married in 1969. They have four children and six grandchildren. He is a Presbyterian elder.

  Ryan Brinkman, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Ryan Brinkman is the senior equity research analyst covering the US Autos & Auto Parts sector. Prior to re-joining J.P. Morgan in 2012, Brinkman spent two years at Goldman Sachs covering automotive aftermarket stocks as a member of that firm’s hardlines retail team. Prior to Goldman, Brinkman was a member of the #1 ranked U.S. Autos & Auto Parts team at J.P. Morgan in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Prior to that, he was a member of the Bear Stearns U.S. Autos & Auto Parts team. He began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Detroit, where he worked as an automotive industry consultant and vehicle forecast analyst. Brinkman holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan and a Master of Science in Accounting from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan.

  Jim Carter, Ernst & Young Capital Advisors, LLC

James Carter is the Senior Managing Director, Head of U.S. M&A and Capital Debt Advisory for Ernst & Young Capital Advisors, LLC. Carter has 28 years of experience in investment and financial advisory and focuses on automotive industry transactions. His industry/transaction-specific experience includes:

Carter graduated summa cum laude from Alma College with a BA degree.  He received his MBA from the University of Michigan and has Series 7, 24, 63 and 79 securities licenses.

  Veronica Choy, Miller Thomson LLP 

Veronica Choy is an immigration lawyer and partner in the Calgary office of Miller Thomson and acts for a broad range of companies and individuals in regard to all types of Canadian and American immigration matters. Licensed in both Alberta and Washington, Choy has the unique advantage of being able assist companies in the development of plans and strategies involving the hiring and movement of personnel into Canada and/or the United States. She can advise on the wide range of temporary work visa/work permit categories available in both countries as well as provide options for the application for permanent residency.

In particular, for Canada, Choy has extensive experience in obtaining work permits pursuant to NAFTA and GAT S, as well as under other specialty categories such as intra-company transferees. She is also well-versed in the requirements and potential obstacles involved in the application for Labour Market Opinions. For the United States, she possesses extensive experience in a wide range of categories, including, but not limited to: NAFTA professionals (T N), Intra-company (L-1), H1-B professional, E-2 Investor and O-1 individuals of Extraordinary Ability. She is highly experienced in working with immigration-related government bodies such as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Service Canada, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS).

Choy has been invited by numerous universities and business associations to speak on individual and business immigration issues.

  Gerald Courage, Miller Thomson LLP

Gerald Courage’s tax law practice covers the full range of taxation and tax-related matters, with a primary focus on corporate tax. With a tax law background that spans more than 35 years, he has provided advice on domestic and international tax issues to a number of significant public and private businesses – based in Canada and abroad – and across a wide range of industries.

Courage has particular expertise in the tax aspects of mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, corporate finance and business succession planning. Courage was Chair of the firm from 2008 to 2013.

  Daniel Davidson, Calsonic Kansei N.A.

Daniel Davidson is vice president, Production Engineering and New Product Launch for Calsonic Kansei North America.  Davidson leads component and module production activities at CKNA’s facilities in Shelbyville, Lewisburg, and Smyrna, TN and in Canton, MS.  In addition, he is responsible for all capital investment for U.S. locations, and leads the new product launch preparation and milestone reviews.

Davidson joined Calsonic Kansei in 2007 as Director of Development Engineering in Calsonic Technical Center – N.A.  He has held director and senior director positions in Product Engineering including responsibility for interiors, exhaust, thermal, and HVAC products and also previously led the Calsonic Technical Center – Mexico.  In 2012, Davidson was named vice president, Electronics with responsibility for the LW Electronics plant and Electronics Development Engineering group.  Previously, Davidson spent 15 years at Ford Motor Company in Product Engineering, Product Strategy, and Program Management roles in the Powertrain area. 

Davidson holds a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

  Joe Dehner, FBTAuto

Chair of the firm’s International Services Group, Joe has an extensive global automotive practice, focused on supply chain matters for leading suppliers and global issues in the sector.  For over 30 years, Joe has advised foreign automotive clients on setting up operations in the United States and succeeding in U.S. markets, counseled companies on general business issues, and represented businesses in cross-border and domestic disputes.

  Suzanne Dickerson, CU-ICAR (Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research)

Suzanne Dickerson is the Director for International Business Development and Marketing at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).  Dickerson’s experience includes 18 years in the automotive industry - 12 years within BMW working in the fields of corporate sustainability, innovation management and long-term strategic and structural planning.  She began her career with BMW in Munich Germany at corporate headquarters upon completion of the prestigious Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program.  Dickerson speaks fluent German and is also a Fellow of the Herbert Quandt Young Leaders Forum.  Dickerson is a Founding Board Member of the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum (SAWF) and serves as VP of Alliances for SAWF.  Locally, Dickerson serves as a Board Member on the South Carolina Automotive Council and the Greenville Professional Women’s Forum. 

  Frank W. Ervin III, Magna International Inc.

Frank W. Ervin III was promoted to Director, Government Affairs in January of 2012. He was appointed as Manager, Government Affairs for Magna International in April of 2009. He is responsible for managing all federal, state and local legislative affairs and activities for Magna International in the USA. Ervin works with all business units of Magna International on matters involving and needing legislative relations assistance. Ervin is also responsible for building and maintaining positive company relations with Members of Congress, State and Local legislators, officials and their staffs to help create a positive leadership image and business climate for Magna International, Inc.

Prior to joining Magna Ervin spent more than 30 years in various positions in the automotive supply industry that entails the realm of government relations, OEM production supply, OEM specialized supply, R&D supply, and including factory automation supply and fleet sales.

Ervin also has extensive experience in building a global business structure in the U.S. and other countries such as Mexico, Japan, South America, Europe and Asia involving a variety of customers including the major automobile manufacturers worldwide and Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 manufacturers worldwide.

Ervin holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and a Masters Degree in International Business. Ervin is also a U.S. Navy and Vietnam veteran.

Phil Goy photo  Philip M. Goy, KPMG LLP

Phil Goy has extensive executive level financial management experience in manufacturing, dealership and distribution, real estate, construction and communications. Goy provides quality consultative and advisory services to companies during the investment, transaction and integration phases of the business cycle. Based on his significant experience, Goy addresses opportunities both strategically and financially. Goy’s recent focus has been primarily in the areas of proactive financial management, receiverships, forensic accounting, and financial due diligence.

Prior to joining KPMG, Goy was a Managing Director and General Corporate Practice Lead of BBK, Ltd., serving lenders, attorneys, tier one automotive suppliers, and a multitude of non-manufacturing businesses. He was also a member of the BBK Senior Leadership Team. 

As Managing Director of Maxwell Advisors, Goy was involved in financial restructuring, strategic planning, cash management, interim financial management, and related corporate/financial organizational issues. Clients included real estate ventures, manufacturing companies, motor vehicle dealers, transportation and trucking services, and professional services firms.

As Divisional Vice President of Finance and Administration of a Nasdaq-listed corporation, Goy established accounting and financial controls over the largest operating region of this company, whose customers were Fortune 100 companies. Goy led the acquisition and divestiture of various business units. As CFO of another Nasdaq-listed corporation, Goy coordinated and structured the acquisition of three businesses and raised several million dollars of working capital through a secondary offering.

Goy’s career began at Haskins & Sells (currently Deloitte). He was a Partner, providing accounting, auditing, and advisory services to manufacturing, retail and distribution, real estate and construction, and service companies, and participated in several national training and industry initiatives.

  Benjamin R. Green, Nissan North America, Inc.

Benjamin R. Green (Ben) is the head of Nissan Motor Ltd.’s global supplier financial risk team and has been with the group since 2008.  In this capacity, Green is responsible for the timely identification, classification and mitigation of financial risks to Nissan’s global strategic supply base.   Headquartered at Nissan North America in Franklin, TN, the core supplier financial risk team coordinates an international network of analysts managing supplier risk in 21 countries around the world.

Prior to Nissan, Green was a Vice President and Senior Equity Research analyst for Nashville-based investment banking firm Avondale Partners LLC.  At Avondale, Green covered various IT sectors, with a focus on healthcare technology, internet security and data analytics.  Green began his career with Deutsche Bank in 1996, working in various risk control and managerial functions in the company’s U.S. Custody Operations unit.

Green holds a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Alabama.  He lives in Nashville with his wife Suzannah, their son James and Charlie the dog.

  Commissioner Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

Bill Hagerty serves in the cabinet of Governor Bill Haslam, as the commissioner of Department of Economic and Community Development for his home state of Tennessee.

Hagerty’s department is responsible for recruiting business and industry to the state as well as Tennessee’s overall economic growth. His department is focused on Governor Haslam’s mission to make Tennessee the number one state in the Southeast for high quality jobs.

Hagerty has led landmark recruitment efforts for Tennessee, including North American facilities for Hankook Tire and UBS Financial Services. His department has also landed major expansions for the state from global automotive suppliers like Magneti Marelli and Calsonic Kansei, as well as OEMs Volkswagen, Nissan and General Motors. During Hagerty’s tenure, the department has secured commitments from the private sector to create nearly 60,000 jobs in Tennessee. 

In 2011, Governor Haslam asked Hagerty to take responsibility for the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission. Under his leadership, the Commission’s board was configured to more deeply engage the state’s significant music industry. Hagerty and his team worked closely with the industry and legislature to retool the state’s film industry incentives to simplify and broaden access. He has commission staff refocused on the convergence of music, entertainment and film to target outsized returns for the state. The ABC hit series “Nashville” is an example of this convergence, where the restructured incentives were leveraged with exceptional results. The television show now airs in more than 50 countries and touches millions of viewers every week.

During his service, Hagerty has also broadened the state’s portfolio of economic development tools, adding programs focused on foreign direct investment, exports and entrepreneurism.

He launched a new division, TNTrade, adding four overseas offices – for a total of seven - aimed directly at expanding international markets, which he sees as a major opportunity for Tennessee companies and entrepreneurs.

To better support entrepreneurial growth and innovation in the state, Hagerty’s team restructured and repositioned the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation and rebranded it as LaunchTN. Hagerty now serves as chairman of the board of LaunchTN, which has become the entity that oversees the state’s accelerator program, facilitates technology transfer and commercialization from the state’s R &D institutions (ranked 8th in the nation), and oversees the state’s early stage capital program, INCITE, a co-investment fund established to attract more early-stage capital to the state.

During his service, Hagerty navigated substantial budget and staff cuts. The Haslam administration began in 2011 with the state facing unprecedented fiscal pressure in the wake of the global recession. Hagerty and his team addressed these cuts with a more corporate approach that relies on a decentralized management structure, stringent reporting metrics and high levels of accountability across the organization. Today, the department has 49 percent fewer positions than when Hagerty assumed his role as commissioner.

As a cabinet member, Hagerty works with and frequently testifies before the Tennessee General Assembly. He works on a regular basis with the Tennessee’s U.S. congressional delegation. He has provided congressional testimony on matters related to regulation, international trade and the economy. In addition, Hagerty and his team work with the U.S. Treasury, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Trade Representative, the International Trade Administration, HUD, SBA and other federal agencies on an as needed basis.

Hagerty began his career with global consultancy, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where his career spanned five continents. He spent his last three years in Tokyo, Japan where he was senior expatriate responsible for the firm’s work with western clients across Asia.

He left BCG to serve on the White House Domestic Policy Council where his portfolio included international trade, commerce, treasury and telecom. Hagerty was selected a White House Fellow where the vice president of the United States was his principal.

Following his service on the White House staff, Hagerty joined Trident Capital and launched his career in private equity. One of his first deals with Trident was lifting out the mapping division of former BCG client, RR Donnelley, to form what became MapQuest, which he co-invested with Trident. Three years later, MapQuest went public (Nasdaq: MQST) and then was acquired through a public tender by AOL Time Warner (NYSE: AOL). Hagerty eventually helped form and lead private equity and advisory firm, Hagerty Peterson and Company, LLC. He has served on the Board of CyMed, Inc. as a founder and Co-Chairman of the nation’s third largest medical records company, which was later merged with NYSE-traded PLDT (NYSE:PHI); NEW Customer Services Company, as vice-chairman of the nation’s largest electronics warranty administrator (merged into NEW Asurion); as well as home entertainment retailer, Sound Advice (Nasdaq: SUND). Through early 2008, Mr. Hagerty served as CEO of ALAM, Ltd, the Asian Lehman Asset Management joint venture private equity investment platform majority owned by Lehman Brothers, which he helped establish with offices in Hong Kong and Beijing, China.

Hagerty has served in a variety of complex governance situations both during and subsequent to major corporate events. Following its restructuring, he served as COO and CFO of Ultra Stores, the nation’s fifth largest jewelry retailer. He also served on the company’s Board of Directors and its audit committee. Hagerty served as CEO of Powerway, a technology firm, where he helped open and oversee the China, Europe and Mexico operations of the global firm prior to its merger with an overseas partner. Hagerty also served as a director for Birch Telecom, one of the nation’s largest competitive telecom exchange carriers, following its change of control. Concurrent with the largest out-of-court restructuring in Wall Street history, he was recruited to serve on the board of directors and as chair of the Compensation Committee of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a large global publisher, as it transitioned from print to digital media.

Hagerty presently serves on the board and chairs the Governance Committee of R.J. O’Brien & Associates LLC, the nation’s largest independent futures and commodities merchant. RJO recently absorbed 70% of the assets of MF Global at the request of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

As a community volunteer and philanthropist, Mr. Hagerty served through mid-2007 as the chairman of the Executive Board of the National Capital Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) with more than 80,000 youth and adult volunteers, where he led a $50 million capital campaign. He is now an active member of the Middle Tennessee BSA’s board executive committee. He also served for 11 years as member and chair of the Regional Selection Panel for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships (administrations of Clinton, Bush and Obama). Hagerty served as vice chairman of the Board of Columbia Hospital for Women, a nationally recognized not-for-profit women’s hospital in the District of Columbia. Hagerty has also been engaged locally serving on the Board of Trustees of Cheekwood where he chaired the Botanical Gardens Committee.

In 2012, Hagerty took a leave of absence and moved to Washington, DC to serve full-time on the 2012 U.S. Presidential Transition Team. In 2010, President Obama signed the Presidential Transition Act. This legislation provided for the establishment and federal funding of a presidential transition effort housed within the General Services Administration to ensure an orderly transfer of Executive power. With more than 4,000 positions to fill during a transition, this is the largest scale leadership transition in the world. He served on the first such team, where he led the 124 person unit responsible for screening, vetting and ultimately navigating the Senate advice and consent process for prospective members of the Cabinet, Sub-Cabinet, Senior White House staff and key Ambassadorships. Having planned and led the first such effort under the new legislation, Hagerty has continued to participate on a bi-partisan advisory basis to help ensure smooth and effective presidential leadership transitions in the future.

A native of Gallatin, Tennessee, Hagerty attended Vanderbilt University and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Economics. He went on to Vanderbilt Law School as a Wilson Scholar and was elected to the Law Review where he served as associate editor. Hagerty is a member of the New York State Bar Association. He has been published in newspapers, scholarly and trade journals and interviewed on radio and television programs (CNN on multiple occasions, as well as national publications including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the Boston Globe). He and his wife Chrissy have four children and attend St. George’s Episcopal Church.

  Sharon D. Hatchett, The Hatchett Group LLC

Sharon Hatchett has extensive domestic, international and automotive experience advising business leaders in a broad range of areas, including complex commercial transactions, ethics and compliance, acquisitions and divestitures, franchise, distribution, procurement, supply chain, and finance matters.

As President of The Hatchett Group, Hatchett advises individuals, start-ups and businesses in a variety of areas, including ethics and compliance, sales and marketing, and growth strategies. She has also spoken on ethics and compliance and served as member of a court appointed Monitor team that assessed a multi-national company’s adherence to the terms of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement resulting from violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Hatchett’s automotive experience includes a successful 28 year career with the General Motors Legal Staff providing advice and counsel to senior management, including as Global Leader - Information Technology, where she managed a global team of 13 lawyers in eight countries, in providing global legal advice on information technology matters. In this role Hatchett led the global information technology legal work stream associated with General Motors’ Chapter 11 proceedings and successful emergence of General Motors Company.

Hatchett also served in such leadership roles as Senior European Counsel for General Motors Europe, Interim General Counsel for GM South Africa; General Counsel for Electro-Motive Division, a global locomotive business; Business Unit Counsel for General Motors’ Global Supply Chain organization; Business Unit Counsel for the General Motors’ Truck Group; and Regional Counsel for General Motors Acceptance Corporation operations in the U.S. and internationally.

Hatchett received her Juris Doctor from the DePaul University College of Law where she was a member of Law Review, and received dual degrees in Political Science and Spanish from Illinois State University. 

  Wade A. Hinton, City of Chattanooga, TN, former Deputy General Counsel for Volkswagen Group of America

Wade Hinton currently serves as City Attorney and Chief Legal Officer for the City of Chattanooga. He provides legal advice to the Mayor, City Council, and the various City boards, committees, and commissions on legal matters of concern to the City and its residents. Prior to joining the City in 2013, Hinton served as Deputy General Counsel for Volkswagen Group of America – Chattanooga Operations from 2009 to 2013. In that role, Hinton provided legal counsel and project management for issues related to Volkswagen’s operations in Chattanooga. These issues included, but were not limited to, general corporate, corporate governance, litigation management, construction, external relations, and contract drafting and negotiation. Hinton also provided assistance with the company's efforts in the areas of diversity and workforce development.

Hinton has been appointed by Governors Haslam, Bredesen and Sundquist to several boards and commissions for the State of Tennessee, including the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission, the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, the Tennessee Title VI Commission, and others. He is a graduate of Emory University, the University of Memphis School of Law, and studied at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. 

  Victoria Hirschberg, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

Victoria Hirschberg serves as a project manager and automotive liaison for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. She focuses on recruitment of new suppliers and OEMs to Tennessee and builds relationships to increase awareness of the state’s growing automotive sector.  She manages diverse projects for the department that range from land development, workforce initiatives and site selection. She started with TNECD in 2012 and is based in Nashville. Prior, she worked as a community development consultant in the Southeast and led the marketing and recruitment strategy for an economic development agency in South Texas/Northern Mexico.

Hirschberg received her Masters of Community and Regional Planning and Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico and her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She recently was named a ‘Top 40 Under 40 by Development’ in economic development and a finalist for a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Award. She also serves as a mentor for TNAchieves in Davidson County and serves as Communications Chair for the Southern Economic Development Council.

  Robert L. Hust, FBTAuto, former General Counsel for Honda of America Mfg., Inc.

As former General Counsel for Honda of America Mfg., Inc., Bob served not only as chief legal officer for Honda’s North American manufacturing operations but also as compliance officer and risk-management leader. Bob also helped found and lead, for three years, the Midwest office of Honda’s intellectual property legal group. In more than 21 years as an industry insider, Bob developed a deep understanding of the myriad issues confronting automotive manufacturing, including labor and employment, risk management, corporate compliance, facility/site selection, records retention, electronic discovery and IP planning and protection. He has partnered with executive management for OEMs and suppliers to provide strategic, yet practical, legal and business advice on all aspects of the business. Bob continues his strong working relationships with executives, managers and lawyers for OEMs and suppliers throughout the industry in his role as a member of the Firm’s Automotive Industry Team.

  Paul J. Ingrassia, Reuters

Paul J. Ingrassia, the managing editor of Reuters, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who has written extensively about the auto industry for 25 years. His third and latest book, published by Simon and Schuster in May 2012, is Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars. It was recently cited by Bloomberg news and by the American Library Association’s Research division as one of the most notable books of 2012.  His previous book (Random House, January 2010) Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry’s Road from Glory to Disaster, was the first to chronicle the bankruptcies and bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler.

Ingrassia spent 31 years at The Wall Street Journal and its parent company, Dow Jones, as a reporter, editor and executive before his departure in 2007.  As the Journal's Detroit bureau chief from 1985 to 1994, Ingrassia won a Pulitzer Prize -- along with his deputy, Joseph B. White -- in 1993 for coverage of the prior year's crisis at General Motors. The two also won a Loeb Award that year. Ingrassia’s broadcast appearances include Meet the Press, CNBC, various National Public Radio programs, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC’ 20/20, the PBS Newshour and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

At Reuters, Ingrassia works with a news staff in some 200 bureaus worldwide of nearly 2,700 journalists, including reporters, editors, photographers and videographers who provide video news footage for television broadcasters around the globe. He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1972 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Daily Illini. He received his master’s degree, also in journalism, from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1973. He is a native of Laurel, Mississippi.

  Mark Johnson, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

Mark Johnson currently serves as the Director of Federal Government Relations for Toyota in their office in Washington, D.C.  Johnson is responsible for legislative issues related to financial services, vehicle safety and intellectual property.   Prior to coming to Toyota, he served as Chief of Staff for Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  As Chief of Staff, he managed Representative Capito’s three Congressional offices and served as her chief legislative and political advisor. 

Before joining Representative Capito’s office, Johnson served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Representative Ed Bryant (R-TN) and as a Legislative Assistant for Representative Don Sundquist (R-TN), who later went on to become the Governor of the state. 

Johnson also spent a brief period of time as Director of Government Affairs for Fluor Corporation, a major construction and engineering company headquarted in California.  Johnson was responsible for legislative issues related to product liability, tax policy, health care, and trade.

Before beginning his career in government service, Johnson spent two years as a high school Latin and government teacher at Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia.

Johnson currently resides in Bristow, Virginia with his wife Lisa and their two children, Grant (age 15) and Hannah (age 13). 

Motohiko Kato Photo  Motohiko Kato, Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville

Consul General Motohiko Kato arrived in Nashville in October of 2012 by way of Manila, where he most recently served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines. A career diplomat, he entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in 1982. His career has taken him all over the world, including posts in Singapore, Iran, and Paris. Consul-General Kato enjoyed several wonderful experiences in the U.S. before coming to Nashville. As a young diplomat, he studied English at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. In 2004, he became Deputy Chief of Mission at the Japanese Embassy in Afghanistan, where he worked closely with his American counterparts on various reconstruction efforts. In 2007, Consul-General Kato returned to the States to serve as Head of Chancery at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC.

Consul-General Kato has served as director of several MOFA divisions in Tokyo; among them are the Nuclear Energy Division, where he handled nuclear non-proliferation policy and nuclear safety, and the Second International Organization Division, where he oversaw international business transactions and free trade agreements. He also served as Director of the International Cooperation Division at the National Institute for Research Advancement, a prestigious government think tank.

The Consulate-General of Japan at Nashville covers Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Consul-General Kato’s primary mission is to care for Japanese citizens residing in the Southeast, protect the interests of Japanese companies, and promote Japanese culture and business throughout these five states.

  Brandon Kessinger, Akebono Brake Corporation

Brandon Kessinger is Vice President & General Counsel for Akebono Brake Corporation, a leading global manufacturer of automotive brakes and wheel end components.  Kessinger is responsible for oversight of all legal and compliance matters at Akebono’s seven North American facilities. 

Kessinger is also a member of the Board of Directors, and serves as Secretary and Treasurer, of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, which was launched earlier this year by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear in an effort to tackle industry challenges and opportunities and elevate the state’s position as a leader in the global auto industry.

Prior to joining Akebono, Kessinger was a transactional lawyer in Stites and Harbison’s Business and Finance Services group, where he advised businesses on a wide range of corporate and financial matters, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate finance, and corporate governance. 

Kessinger received his Juris Doctor from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, and holds a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Kentucky.  Kessinger and his family reside in Louisville, Kentucky.

  Kim Ketchum, Magneti Marelli Holding U.S.A., Inc.

Kim Ketchum, Corporate Director Business Development NAFTA, is a native Tennessean.  Raised in Culleoka, Tennessee, on a dairy farm, her parents are Donald and Ernestine Galbreath.   She is a veteran of the United States Navy, serving her country for eight years both abroad (Europe) and the Continental United States. 

She has worked in the automotive industry for the past 25 years – all in Operations, she recently transitioned from VP Shock Absorbers, NA to her current role in Business Development for all of Magneti Marelli Business Lines in the NAFTA Region.  Prior to Magneti Marelli , she was employed with ArvinMeritor and with D & A Technology, both automotive suppliers.  Her passion for keeping the American workforce active is what keeps her motivated in such a fast paced recovering industry.   

Ketchum has served on the Board of Directors for the Giles County Chamber of Commerce for three consecutive terms.  She holds a seat on TAMA (Tennessee Automotive Manufacturing Association) Board and is a member of the Southern Automotive Womens Forum.  She also assists the Economic and Development Commission by introducing the workforce of Giles County to potential industry newcomers. She is on the Board of Trustees for Martin Methodist College and is a graduate of University of Phoenix with her Bachelors in Business Management.  She is a Rotarian with the Giles County Charter recently awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award in her charter.  She has been a member of the GSC (Gulf South Conference) Basketball Official Association where she worked Women’s East Division II College Basketball as a hobby.  Her and her husband own a small convenient store located in Giles County, in the community of Flagsprings. 

Ketchum currently resides in Lynnville, Tennessee with her family on a 92 Acre Farm with her husband, Wendell and their 3 children.  Her daughter, Courtney (25 years), is a Graduate of Masters at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in Nursing Profession & recently a new mom, she lives on their farm with the newly arrived “twins”, Cutler and Callyn (Kim is a very proud Grandma!).   Chris Carrington (24 years) is a college student and employed at Clark’s Gym in Pulaski and Hunter Ketchum (19 years) attends Columbia State Community College, studying Criminal Justice. 

  Kim Korth, IRN, Inc.

Kim Korth is the founder of IRN, Inc., a well-known consulting firm specializing in strategic advisory services to middle market manufacturing. She founded IRN in 1983 and spearheaded its growth into a leading consulting firm for global automotive suppliers. Her work has centered on helping suppliers understand the dynamics and structure of their industry, and how they should position themselves to successfully compete in an increasingly volatile worldwide market. Her primary role has been in management consulting and planning, guiding companies to establish sustainable strategies for growth and improved financial performance.

Korth is currently the president and CEO of The Techniplas Group, a privately-held group of plastics focused manufacturing businesses, and president and CEO of group member Dickten Masch Plastics in Nashotah, WI.

Korth has been an active participant in the transportation industry since 1980, beginning her career at Prince Corporation, now a part of Johnson Controls. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Shape Corporation, Burke E. Porter Machinery Company, Stoneridge Inc. (NYSE), and Unique Fabricating Inc. She previously served on the boards of Unwired Technology LLC and the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA).

Korth earned a B.A. from Western Michigan University in 1977 and an M.I.M. from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in 1980.

  Thomas A. Lakocy, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Thomas A. Lakocy is a Senior Banker and Division Manager of JPMorgan Chase’s Southeast Michigan & Northwest Ohio Group based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Lakocy has 28 years of commercial banking experience that includes positions in small business, large corporate, loan workout and middle market banking for legacy banks National Bank of Detroit, First Chicago NBD, and Bank One.

Lakocy is a graduate of Miami (Ohio) University and The Ohio State University (MBA). He has served as a director of the Michigan Unit of Learning Ally, a non-profit that promotes reading for individuals with learning disabilities, and currently serves as a director of Troy Nature Society, a non-profit which operates a nature education facility in Troy, Michigan.

Lakocy resides in Troy with his wife and three teenaged children.

Mike Land Photo  Mike Land, Johnson Controls Inc.

Mike Land is the Executive Director of Purchasing, Complete Seat Americas (NA and SA).  He is responsible for the purchasing of components shipping into Just In Time production facilities to support the final assembly of complete seats.  Land is also responsible for Supplier Risk Management for the Americas. Land began his career with Johnson Controls in 1986 as a Foam Technician.  In 1991 he joined the purchasing team and has held a variety of leadership positions supporting numerous plants and commodities (Metals, Plastics, Trim Components, Global Steel, etc.).  Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 170,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles.

  Emily K. Lauder, Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, Inc.

Emily K. Lauder is General Manager of Administration at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Inc. and is co- President of the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum. She most recently served as Human Resources Manager at Toyota, and was Accounting Finance Manager for four years prior.

Before joining TMMAL in 2007, Lauder served as Assistant Manager and Specialist in the Accounting and Finance department at Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Inc. (TMMWV). Prior to joining Toyota in 2000, Lauder held positions as a Financial Analyst with AEI Resources and numerous Accounting and Finance positions with Square D Company.

Lauder received a BBA in Finance from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and an MBA in Decision Sciences from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She currently serves on the board of Directors for Huntsville/Madison Schools Foundation.

Lauder and her husband Ron have a 14 year daughter and reside in Madison, Alabama.

Tom Lee Photo  Tom Lee, CivicPoint LLC

Tom Lee is managing principal of CivicPoint, a full-service public affairs firm that allows businesses, trade associations, and non-governmental organizations to work successfully in conjunction with state and local government in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia. CivicPoint provides clients and businesses with the services and confidence to support all aspects of government relations, from launching major initiatives to procurement and executive branch lobbying, to strategic public affairs counsel.

Tom is also a member of Frost Brown Todd, where he practices law in the areas of government services and business litigation. He is an adjunct professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, where he has taught lobbying and public advocacy, and active in numerous civic and political organizations.  An Order of the Coif graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law and executive editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review, he also was a two-time Emmy-award winning television journalist prior to law school.

  Michael P. Lyons, PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

Michael P. Lyons is executive vice president and head of Corporate & Institutional Banking.

Before joining PNC in October 2011, Lyons served as global head of corporate development and strategic planning for Bank of America. In that role he was primarily responsible for repositioning Bank of America's balance sheet to help the company focus on its core businesses and growth strategy. He was also responsible for mergers and acquisitions, the private equity business, the LaSalle trust and custody business, investor relations and the bank’s strategic partnership and investment in China Construction Bank.

Previously, he served as a portfolio manager at investment advisor Maverick Capital. Prior to Maverick, Lyons worked in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch where he focused on financial institutions.

Lyons joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of America as a national trustee in 2012, and currently serves on the investment committee. Lyons graduated from the University of Pennsylvania magna cum laude in 1993.

  Melanie D. Margolin, Cummins, Inc.

Melanie D. Margolin is the Assistant General Counsel for Global Litigation for Cummins Inc. ("Cummins").  Cummins designs, manufactures, distributes and services diesel and natural gas engines and related technologies.  Cummins employs approximately 48,000 people worldwide and serves customers in approximately 190 countries and territories through a network of approximately 600 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 6,500 dealer locations.  Margolin has responsibility for global litigation matters, risk issues that may develop into litigation, customer and supplier disputes and related risk management functions.  Margolin also works closely with Corporate Safety and works with Cummins' product safety leaders across the globe.  Before joining Cummins in early 2013, Margolin was a partner with an Amlaw 250 law firm where she chaired numerous committees and practiced in commercial litigation and products liability.  Margolin is an American Bar Association and Defense Research Institute member and is a frequent speaker on global attorney client privilege issues, outside counsel management and diversity and inclusion issues in law firms.   

 Alicia B. Masse, Alderney Advisors LLC

Alicia B. Masse is a senior financial executive and consultant with exceptional experience in financial analytics, cash forecasting/management, business plan development, alternative scenario analysis, and insolvency/bankruptcy execution. She is a creative problem solver able to negotiate and drive transactions to successful conclusions. Masse offers demonstrated expertise within organizational turnaround and restructuring with a focus on strategy and finance in insolvency, bankruptcy, and emerging company settings. She is regularly sought out by CEOs and CFOs for guidance through challenging business conditions.

In 2013, Masse and her partners founded Alderney Advisors, a business advisory firm providing uniquely valuable expertise in the areas of management consulting, supply risk management, interim management, and related areas. For 15 years prior, Alderney team members worked together in other capacities, driving financial and organizational restructuring, divestitures, M&A, and risk mitigation.

From 2009 to 2013, Masse served as Midwest Restructuring Leader, St. Louis Transaction Advisory Services Market Leader, Michigan Transaction Advisory Services Market Leader, and Global Automotive Supplier Risk Network Leader for EY. She successfully implemented a robust global restructuring network of EY practitioners allowing response to global clients with global supply risk issues within 24 hours of engagement spanning the US, China, Europe, and Canada. 
Prior to her tenure at EY, Masse was Senior Managing Director and Co-lead for the North American Automotive Practice for BBK Ltd. There, she served almost every major automotive manufacturer and Tier 1 through her financial restructuring advisory practice or the financial benchmarking tool, BBK ratings, a product she developed that became the initial industry standard for identifying financial distress early in the process. Over her tenure, Masse worked on 100+ restructurings and 200+ supplier financial health reviews.

Previously, Masse progressed through Ford Motor Credit as North American Finance Operations Manager, Profit Analysis System Manager, and ultimately Finance Director of Latin American Credit Operations. She started her career at Arthur Andersen.

Educated at the University of Michigan, she earned an MBA in Finance and Strategy in addition to her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Florida Atlantic University. Masse is a former CPA and has participated on numerous panels including a Harvard Business School panel regarding issues with bankruptcy and insolvency and distressed asset acquisition. She participates on multiple boards including Belle Isle Conservancy, serving on the Finance Committee. She is also a member in good standing within Inforum, American Bankruptcy Institute and INSOL International, International Association of Restructuring, and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Professionals.

  Michael Monday, Magneti Marelli Holding U.S.A., Inc.

Michael Monday is the General Counsel, North America, for Magneti Marelli.  Magneti Marelli is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with its headquarters located in Corbetta, Italy (near Milan).  Magneti Marelli is an international company committed to the design and production of hi-tech systems and components for the automotive sector.  It has more than 38,000 employees, 85 production units, 12 R&D Centers and 26 Application Centers located throughout 19 countries and supplies all the most important car makers in Europe, North and South America and Asia.

As Magneti Marelli’s first General Counsel for the NAFTA region, Monday is responsible for all legal matters in the U.S. and Mexico and represents Magneti Marelli in its day-to-day contacts between it and FCA’s Auburn Hills legal offices.  He handles a wide variety of matters such as, contracts, corporate, labor, and all other legal needs of the organization.  In addition, Monday speaks Spanish fluently, which has been important in the oversight of the significant operations that the company has in Mexico.

Monday earned his J.D. from Ohio State University and his B.A. in International Relations from Brigham Young University.  In addition, he earned an MBA from Texas A&M University.  He has been admitted to practice law in Utah, Nevada, Ohio and Michigan.  Prior to joining Magneti Marelli Monday worked as legal counsel for an automotive supplier in Lima, Ohio and in private practice prior to going in-house.

  Sen. Mark S. Norris, Sr., Majority Leader of the Tennessee Senate

Mark Norris was first elected to the Tennessee Senate in 2000 and has served as the Senate Majority Leader since 2007. In that role, he is the prime sponsor of the Haslam Administration's legislation, including the annual budget. 

Norris is a graduate of the University Of Denver College Of Law. He has practiced law, including business litigation, in Tennessee for 34 years and is Special Counsel to the law firm of Adams and Reese LLP with offices in Memphis, Nashville, and 13 other southern cities. 

Governor Haslam recently reappointed Norris to a second term on the State Workforce Development Board, and he has been very involved in innovative approaches to reducing unemployment across the state. 

Norris also serves as Chairman of the national Council of State Governments representing all 3 branches of state government in all 50 states, the Canadian Provinces, Mexico and Puerto Rico. 

He has launched an ambitious workforce development and education initiative called "State Pathways to Prosperity" designed to close the "skills gap" and embrace the opportunities in advanced industries and manufacturing which includes a focus on hunger and nutrition, veterans’ affairs, and criminal justice.

This year, he's been named Legislator of the Year 3 times: by the Tennessee PTA for his focus on education, children and families; the AMVETS awarded him their coveted Silver Bayonet Award for his focus on veterans needs from college degrees and jobs to a new State home in Shelby County, and the Tennessee Association for Justice recognized him this summer for reforming the state's medical liability and workers' comp laws while preserving access to justice and protecting the rights of individuals.

The Commercial Appeal recently said it well. "He's not one who screams and yells and isn't into name-calling...Managing these behind the scenes issues is something Norris does very well...Lots of details. Night meetings. Hallway jawboning. Balancing divergent interests...Norris knows state government."

The Memphis Flyer summed him up in their cover story on Norris this year: "Norris delivers."

Senator Norris and his wife, Chris, live on a working farm outside of Collierville where they enjoy gardening, horseback riding and introducing their grandchildren to the wonders of outside adventure. 

  Dr. J. Patrick Raines, Belmont University

Dr. Raines was appointed the Dean of the College of Business Administration and The Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business at Belmont University in August of 2003. Prior to that time, he was the F. Carlyle Tiller Chair of Business and served as the Chair of the Economics Department and Academic Director of the Richmond-Capital One MBA program at the University of Richmond. He joined the Richmond faculty in 1982 after earning his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Alabama, where he played center on two SEC Championship football teams coached by Paul ”Bear” Bryant from 1969-72.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Raines has published three books and more than twenty-five articles in prestigious academic journals in his field of economics. His research interests include economic models of institutions of higher education, debt and deflation in the U.S. economy, and behavioral finance. His most recent book was published by Elgar Publishing Ltd. is entitled Debt, Innovations and Deflation.

His dedication to teaching resulted in his receipt of the University of Richmond Distinguished Educator Award at that institution. In 2001, he was nominated by the Council of Higher Education in the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Outstanding Faculty Award. He was also presented the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business Award for Scholarly Activities.

In 1990, Raines was appointed as a Fulbright Scholar to the College of the Bahamas. His international experience also includes his leadership of one of the first industrial development groups to the former Soviet republics to establish educational and industrial relationships with emerging market enterprises. At the University of Richmond, he was instrumental in developing the curriculum and study abroad programs for the International Business program. At Belmont, Raines has taught International Business-Study Abroad courses in Brazil, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Italy, and Argentina for the Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business.

Since assuming the Dean’s position at Belmont University, new undergraduate degree programs have been added in entrepreneurship, economics, and international business. The Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business has been listed among the best business schools in the Princeton Review since 2005, BusinessWeek magazine ranked The Massey School in the Top 20 Part-Time MBA programs, and in 2012 the MBA program was selected as the BEST MBA program in Nashville. The Undergraduate School of Business Administration has been ranked three times as one of the Top 100 undergraduate business programs in the nation, and Entrepreneur magazine consistently ranks the entrepreneurship program among the Top 20 in the nation.  The Belmont Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team was developed in 2005 and won the SIFE National Expositions in 2010 and 2012 and the first Enactus World Championship in 2012.  Under the Dean’s leadership, funds were secured to establish three endowed professorships and to build and endow the first university-based financial information center (“Trading Room”) in the State of Tennessee. As a result of the growth and accomplishments of the College of Business Administration, Raines was named the Jack C. Massey Dean in 2010.

Raines is a member of the Board of Directors for the Nashville Junior Achievement program, Middle Tennessee Research Institute, the Green Hills YMCA, the Advisory Board of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, and recently served two terms as Chair of the Board of Directors for Centennial Medical Center. He received a Nashville Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award for his economic impact study of the music industry in Middle Tennessee, released in January of 2006, and was named the Most Supportive Dean of the Year by Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), United States in 2009.

  Misti M. Rice, Chrysler Group LLC

Misti M. Rice is Senior Manager of State Relations for Chrysler Group LLC and is responsible for the strategic management of Chrysler’s government relations and state-level initiatives.   Rice has more than 20 years of legal, government and consumer affairs experience and has influenced policy areas that include healthcare, insurance, transportation and education. She has also managed political campaigns for a variety of issues, companies, organizations and candidates and has been an adjunct professor of history, political science and public administration.  Rice holds a Juris Doctor from University of Tulsa School, a Masters in Public Administration from University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern State University.

Chris Risdon Photo  Chris Risdon, Grede Holdings, LLC

Chris Risdon is a purchasing executive with an extensive 20 year background in operations, lean manufacturing engineering, supply chain, and procurement in the foundry, automotive, and commercial vehicle markets. He has held progressive leadership levels in multiple disciplines from the plant floor operations to World Headquarters. 

Risdon joined Grede Holdings in 2012 and currently serves as Director of Supply and Purchasing. Risdon oversees all material planning and purchasing for Grede’s $600M raw material and MRO spend for 15 plants in six states and Mexico.

Risdon holds a bachelors and masters degree from the University of Toledo. He is also a member of OESA’s Chief Procurement Council.

  J. Tyler Rollins, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

J. Tyler Rollins is an International Coverage Banker in JP Morgan Chase’s Commercial Bank, working with U.S. multinationals and U.S. subsidiaries of overseas multinational corporations to structure cross-border financing solutions.

Rollins’ work in international corporate banking began in 1991 with Wachovia Bank, where he was eventually named Managing Director. He spent four years in London developing business with some of the most prominent companies in Europe. He has also worked with a wide variety of firms located across Latin America.

Beyond his experience in financial services, Rollins worked as a senior facilitator for Richardson Company, delivering consultative selling, negotiations, and coaching programs to Fortune 1000 companies.

Rollins has lived for personal and professional reasons in Germany, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. He is fluent in Spanish and German, and conversational in Portuguese and French. He received a B.A. cum laude from Brigham Young University and an International MBA (MIBS) from the University of South Carolina. He has also completed an Executive Leadership Program at UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business.

Rollins and his family reside in Atlanta, Georgia.

Robert Sartin Photo  Robert V. Sartin, FBTAuto

Having worked in the automotive industry for much of his career, Robert Sartin is thoroughly familiar with the business and the climate in which it operates, including understanding not only operative legal issues, but also the business and technical issues that drive the automotive industry. Sartin leverages this knowledge with his 19+ years experience representing companies in a wide variety of business matters including strategic alliances, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate restructurings. Additionally, Sartin has created and continues to maintain strong relationships with key players in the industry, including both legal and financial representatives of OEMs and suppliers. He leads the firm’s Automotive Industry Team of more than 30 attorneys who work extensively with automotive clients. Sartin is a member of the Nashville and Lexington offices of Frost Brown Todd.

John Sawyer Photo  John Sawyer, Cerberus Operations and Advisory Company, LLC

John has over 35 years experience in corporate law as a transactional lawyer specializing in manufacturing, bank financing, bankruptcy and workouts. Currently an advisor with Cerberus Operations and Advisory Company, LLC and based in Lexington, John was a founder and principal of the law firm Sawyer & Glancy, PLLC, headquartered in Lexington, from 1997 through early 2006. With Cerberus, John has worked both as counsel and as an advisor on the restructuring and sale of Chrysler, the divestiture through Chapter 11 of a paper manufacturing portfolio company (including a Canadian CCAA process to facilitate the sale of a large mill), and the restructuring and sale of a multi-national software company based in London.  John has also worked on the restructuring of an interactive gaming company based in London, the due diligence and acquisition of a waste management business in Ireland and financial and operational consulting for a school bus manufacturing company.  From time to time, John is part of an auto team that performs due diligence efforts for a variety of potential auto industry investments in North America, Europe and China.

John practiced for 19 years with the law firm Greenebaum Doll & McDonald, PLLC from 1978 to 1997, becoming a partner in 1988. He has experience in corporate finance, debt and equity financing and structuring venture capital investments. As counsel, John has represented a variety of financial institutions in connection with asset-based lending in U.S. and has represented both buyers and sellers in a wide range of transactions, including divestitures and acquisitions, financing and private placement work.  Industries include energy, health care, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, consumer goods and telecommunications.

John and his partners have been business owners, beginning in 1991 with the acquisition of Sardinia Concrete Company, a redi-mix company based in Cincinnati, Ohio and shortly thereafter Superior Coatings, LLC, a coatings and metal finishing business located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  In addition, John and his partners projects have included Kentucky Aeromedical Transportation, LLC, a medical helicopter ambulance business based in Lexington; Source Technologies LLC, a Lexington-based company that specializes in environmental remediation and municipal wastewater treatment, industrial pre-treatment activities and environmental restoration; Vaughn Steel, LLC, a company with operations in Phoenix, Arizona that provides sourcing and delivery of raw steel to the concrete reinforcement industry; and Monessen Hearth Systems Company, Inc., a Paris, Kentucky company that designs and manufactures high-quality vented and vent-free fireplaces systems and ancillary items.

John is a trustee for Christ In Youth (CIY), a Joplin, Missouri based youth organization that provides conferences, service projects, and mission trips for young people in the United States and overseas.  John is also involved with Christian Student Fellowship in Lexington, a campus ministry to students at the University of Kentucky.  Together with several partners, John has formed the Mustard Seed Foundation, a private foundation that is actively involved in evangelism and outreach projects in Africa (child sponsorship programs, micro financing and business development projects in Uganda), and Northern Ireland (the non-denominational reconciliation of Protestant and Catholic youth). 

John holds a bachelor's degree in Marketing and Advertising from Indiana University (1975) and a J.D. from the University of Kentucky law school (1978), Order of the Coif.

Rick Schostek Photo  Rick Schostek, Honda North America, Inc.

Rick Schostek is executive vice president of Honda North America, Inc., with responsibility for the following strategic planning, support, and governance functions: Regional Planning, Finance, HR & Administration, Information Services, Government & Industry Relations, Corporate Communications, the Office of Inclusion & Diversity, Law, Corporate Audit and Manufacturing Operations Audit.  Schostek is also a member of the North American Regional Operating Board and is the company’s Risk Management Officer. 

Prior to this, Schostek was senior vice president of Honda North America, Inc., and Honda North America Services, LLC.

Schostek joined Honda in 1987 as an attorney in the Legal Department, concentrating in commercial and environmental areas.  He was named general counsel and assistant vice president of the Legal Department and Corporate Affairs in 1998.  In 2001, he was promoted to vice president and given additional responsibilities over the support services area.

In 2004, Schostek joined Honda Manufacturing of Alabama where he provided overall operational leadership at this facility.

He joined Honda Manufacturing of Indiana in 2008 to take a leadership role in the start-up of Honda’s newest auto manufacturing plant in North America.  In 2011, he returned to Honda in Ohio and was promoted to senior vice president in 2012.

In addition to his role at Honda North America, Schostek is a member of the board of directors of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the National Association of Manufacturers.  He also serves on the Ohio State University College of Engineering’s External Advisory Council.

A Cleveland native, Schostek is a graduate of the Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University and General Motors Institute (now the Kettering University) in Flint, Michigan.  He and his wife, Doreen, live in Dublin and have two children.

Kelly Schulz Photo  Kelly Schulz, FBTAuto, former Senior Counsel for Toyota

Having spent almost eight years in-house at Toyota and continuing to serve as the co-relationship manager since joining FBT over five years ago, Kelly Schulz has knowledge about the automotive industry and its environment that is matched by no other attorney. This in-depth business knowledge allows Schulz to effectively and efficiently work with clients to understand the legal risks associated with each option, guiding the client to make informed and balanced decisions. Kelly has strong relationships throughout the automotive industry and is regarded as an “insider”. Schulz plays a key role on the Steering Committee for the Firm’s Automotive Industry Team. 

Keith Updike photo  Keith Updike, KPMG LLP

Keith Updike has more than 30 years of experience and a proven record achieving bottom-line success and growth in Manufacturing Operations.  He provides clients with extensive expertise in world-class practices and continuous improvement methodology targeting improvement in the areas of quality, manufacturing, supply chain and materials management.  Updike is an experienced operations executive, having managed multiple facilities and union and non-union workforces in both public and private companies.

Updike drives business development and engagement management activities in the Southeast region, utilizing an extensive client network based on a results-oriented approach and key referral relationships.  Updike's success is based on providing effective solutions with hands-on involvement in the implementation of improvement strategies to obtain client objectives.  Updike's primary goal is to secure solutions that provide clients with the best results for their business and bottom-line across several industries including: automotive, aerospace, consumer products, agriculture and heavy industry.

He has led numerous engagements ranging from lean transformations to assuming several C-level interim management positions.  Past engagement activities include:

Updike started his career as a floor supervisor at the Adrian manufacturing location of Delphi Interior and Lighting Systems.  He spent 15 years in a variety of roles within Quality, Materials and Manufacturing.  As Plant Manager for Guide Corporation, Updike achieved productivity improvements of 22%, reduced overtime by 54%, decreased safety recordable measurements by 19% and reduced lost time accidents by 33%.  Updike also served as Vice President of Operations for Siegel-Robert, Inc. where he drove improvement exceeding all metric expectations establishing performance records at four of their six facilities.

  Miguel Valle, Gonzalez Calvillo, S.C.

Miguel Valle is the manager partner of González Calvillo and has been a member of its Corporate, M&A and Transactional Group since 1997.  Valle is a recognized lawyer with ample experience in domestic and cross-border Transactions.  He has been selected as head counsel over the past 15 years to provide legal and business advice and counseling to multinational and Mexican companies in acquisitions, restructurings, distributions and multiple aspects regarding their presence in Mexico, including startup, joint ventures, regulatory, foreign investment matters, general corporate issues and labor and employment. He is constantly sought by U.S. based and international companies within several industries, including the automotive industry, and assists such companies in corporate oversight and counseling.

  Kevin Velan, Marsh

Kevin Velan is a placement specialist in the Product Recall Practice, working in Marsh’s Chicago office. He provides risk transfer and risk management solutions in the specialist areas of product contamination/recall and recall liability. The group offers a range of services designed to better understand and mitigate risk, including customized insurance programs, captive solutions, and crisis management consulting services.

Velan joined Marsh in November 2013 as member of the Product Recall Practice. Prior to joining Marsh, he spent four years as a senior broker in the crisis management practice at Aon, where he was part of the global product recall business. Prior to joining Aon, Velan worked with at local independent insurance agency and a Nationwide Insurance agency placing and managing all types of commercial insurance accounts.  He also held positions at State Farm and Zurich Insurance companies.

  Rebecca Barker Vest, Nissan Group of North America, Inc.

Rebecca Barker Vest is Vice President - Purchasing, for Nissan Group of North America. In this position, she oversees all purchasing activities for parts, materials, vendor tooling, logistics, services, machinery and equipment, media, aftersales and accessories for Nissan's operations in the U.S. and Mexico. This includes vehicle assembly at Smyrna, Tennessee; Canton, Mississippi; Aguascalientes and Cuernavaca, Mexico; and engine manufacturing at Decherd, Tennessee. Her responsibilities also include supplier quality assurance, purchasing project management and supplier relations. She also serves as the North American Alliance Global Director for the Renault-Nissan Purchasing Organization (RNPO).

Vest joined NNA in 2009 as director, Powertrain Purchasing. In that role, she led purchasing efforts for all powertrain projects in North America (U.S. and Mexico). In addition to this role, she served as the Monozukuri leader, working with suppliers to improve their competitiveness. Before Nissan, Vest worked for over 22 years at Toyota, where she held positions of increasing responsibility in purchasing including Parts, Materials, Facilities, Strategy and Parts Commodity Engineering. Additionally, she spent two years at the Toyota Technical Center, responsible for cost planning within the engineering organization.

Vest earned a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Kentucky. She currently lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband and two children.

  Daniel J. Weiner, Schafer & Weiner, PLLC

In 1985, Daniel Weiner co-founded Schafer and Weiner, PLLC with the late Arnold Schafer and grew this firm into a nationally recognized force of talented and creative problem solvers for debtors and creditors of all shapes and sizes.  Now approaching its 30th year of excellence, Schafer and Weiner sets the standard for law firms of any size with unparalleled commitment, creativity and results.

Weiner grew up in the courtroom earning special trial awards at Hofstra University School of Law and soon litigated complex cases for multinational automotive suppliers, publicly traded retailers, gaming conglomerates and developers. Weiner learned to leverage his courtroom skills with his willingness to outwork his adversaries to achieve remarkable results, whether in the courtroom or at the negotiating table.

Weiner soon channeled these energies into the arena of business reorganizations, gaining outstanding outcomes for Chapter 11 Debtors, Unsecured Creditors’ Committees, secured lenders and trustees. While by no means limited to the manufacturing sector, his tactical insights into the automotive supply chain regularly lead to results beyond expectations. 

To continually sharpen his skills, Weiner often publishes and lectures to professionals and valued clients. He writes as a contributing author for the Turnaround Management Association, Journal of Corporate Renewal - Co-author (When the New Sheriff Comes to Town:  Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law, June, 2014), and (Auto Industry Changes Threaten Delicately Balanced System, Spring 2009), co-author for The Institute of Continuing Legal Education (Litigation in Bankruptcy Court, Handling Consumer and Small Business Bankruptcies in Michigan 2009), co-author for the Collier Bankruptcy Practice Guide (Partnership and Partner Bankruptcies 2006), contributing author to Bankruptcy and Its Impact on LLC Membership Interests, published by The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2006 LLC & Business Entity Update, and co-author for the Michigan Business Law Journal (Swords and Shields – Prepayment Premiums In and Out of Bankruptcy 2003).

  Alan Yarcusko, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC

Alan Yarcusko has been Director of Technical Standards and Regulations for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC in Akron, Ohio since 2012.  His group is directly responsible for development and management of technical standards and tire-related regulations in the 200+ countries where the company does business.  Prior to taking his current position, Yarcusko was a member of Bridgestone’s in-house law department for 11 years, most recently as General Counsel – Litigation.  He earned a BSEE from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1983 and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1993.  Yarcusko worked in the automotive electronics industry in Detroit for eight years prior to attending law school, and he was an attorney with the Cleveland office of Porter Wright for eight years prior to joining Bridgestone.  

  Robert Young, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.

Robert Young is vice president of purchasing at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), located in Erlanger, Kentucky.  TEMA supports Toyota's engineering and manufacturing operations in North America.  Young is responsible for all vehicle parts and materials procurement for TEMA in addition to overseeing the corporate strategy division at the Toyota Technical Center, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  

Previously, he was general manager of vehicle parts and materials purchasing.  In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the procurement of electrical, body, steel and structural commodities for Toyota in North America.  

Young joined Toyota in 1995 and progressed through a series of positions in the purchasing division including several buying roles. In 2000, he was promoted to manager of construction, machinery and equipment.

Young has a B.S. in Business Administration from Indiana University.

  Andrew Zimberg, Nissan North America, Inc.

Andrew Zimberg joined Nissan as a Senior Analyst in February 2012.  As a member of the global supplier financial risk team, his responsibility includes managing the financial analysis and risk mitigation function for North American strategic suppliers, as well as tracking and assessing key supplier risk in China and Japan.  

Prior to joining Nissan, Zimberg worked for 20 years in the corporate banking industry. He specialized in the automotive and healthcare industries and was responsible for risk management, capital market transactions and managing portfolios of distressed debt.   Additionally, Zimberg has M&A corporate finance and transactional experience including restructuring corporate balance sheets.  

Zimberg holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Buffalo and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Finance from the State University of New York at Brockport. 

Zimberg, originally from New York City, now resides in Nashville with his wife and three daughters.

Xiaolin Zhou Photo  Xiaolin Zhou, Jun He Law Offices

Xiaolin Zhou specializes in foreign investment and regulatory matters in China and has thirty years of working experience in Chinese law both in government and in private practice. As managing partner of Jun He's New York Office, Zhou focuses his practice on advising and assisting clients doing business with/in China and helping clients resolve legal and business problems in their operations in China. Prior to entering private practice, Zhou served for six years as the Head of International Law Division, Department of Treaty & Law in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. He also served as consultant to the Chinese Delegation to the UN General Assembly and Chinese delegate to the UN Legal Committee, Outer-space Legal Subcommittee and UN Charter Committee.

* Please note that as our event continues to evolve our speakers may change.