Southern States Driving Force in U.S. Automotive Industry

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslem is slated to deliver the keynote address to Southern Automotive Conference attendees in October. The conference will be a major gathering of supply and manufacturing executives in Chattanooga scheduled for the 11th and 12th of next month.

Among those attending will be leaders in all sectors of the industry: original equipment manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and policy makers. The topics discussed will include sustainability, best management practices, workforce development and retaining existing employees. The theme: “The Driving Force: People, Place, Progress.”

The southern United States has proven to be a huge contributor in the industry when it comes to setting standards for assembly and favorable business environment as well as being a driving force in ensuring the place the automotive industry holds in the U.S. economy.

Tom Brewer, President of the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturing Association (TAMA), spoke of the event very favorably. TAMA will host this year’s event. He said, “The South has tremendous momentum in the automotive manufacturing sector, and the future appears very bright. A leading reason for strong investment and employment growth is the leadership of Governor Haslam and other governors in the south who have developed policies to attract and support the industry.”

Some conference highlights include a panel including U.S. Senator Alexander, Fisher & Phillips’ Dennis Cuneo and Newell Baker of Northfolk Southern. The group will concentrate on the U.S. South’s leadership in the industry. The session will be moderated by Tom Griscom, who is the former editor/publisher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

During the conference, the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturing Hall of Fame will be launched to honor organizations and individuals making special contributions to the state’s automotive industry. This coincides with TAMA’s 25th anniversary.

Recent launches made by Tennessee’s original equipment manufacturers will be highlighted during the conference. Also, for the first time there will be a forum sponsored by LaunchTN, which is a new initiative aimed at encouraging and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

Speeches are scheduled following the governor, made by Jay Williams, executive director of the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Office of Recovery for the Automotive Communities and Workers and Kim Korth of IRN, Inc.

Sessions during the conference will also include information about new innovations at GM, Nissan and Volkswagen, a roundtable of Tennessee automotive suppliers and a case study on GM’s Spring Hill plant.

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