DB: Where are you?
DW: In Greenville, South Carolina, where I just finished a meeting with Fred Cartwright, executive director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. We talked about what the university is doingwith its new Center for Manufacturing Innovation and the attraction of Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers.
DB: What else are you doing there?
DW: We’re working with a large Tier 1 (supplier) in launching a new transmission that is going into a vehicle with a new, 9-speed automatic transmission. I’m meeting with BMW to look at a couple of potential projects that will roll out in the near future. We’re trying to grow our business in the southeast region, which is a manufacturing hub for a number of Asian and European transplants. We work on business development, marketing, and branding strategies.
DB: What’s the latest challenge?
DW: Over the last two years we’ve been working with a European Tier 1 that is launching a brand-new technology. It was developed in Europe, but it’s being manufactured in the southeast. It’s all different processes,
so we’re helping them manage and launch things.
DB: Where’s your next stop?
DW: Later this week I’m going to Chicago to meet with a startup out of California that wants to work in the auto industry. It’s an analytics firm that uses software to identify trends in large sets of data.
DB: What’s your travel schedule like?
DW: I spend, on average, 100 nights a year in hotel rooms. I have offices in Detroit, Atlanta, Stuttgart,and Casablanca. I’m traveling perhaps 150 days of the year. db —R.J. King