DaimlerChrysler Day

Aug 20, 2004

Tom LaSorda, chief operating officer for DaimlerChrysler, was on campus Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Tom LaSorda, chief operating officer for DaimlerChrysler, was on campus Tuesday, Aug. 17, to talk to students about the future of the automobile industry and their future working in it.

LaSorda spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in McKinnon Theatre and then joined students at an outdoor picnic in the Bell Tower Courtyard. Hundreds of students and staff listened as he defended the strength of the U.S. auto industry against media critics and outlined three values for individuals to succeed in the industry.

Admitting that the auto industry in the U.S. has had some difficult years, LaSorda criticized the media for being stuck in the failure mode. "This industry is not on the way out," he said, "the truth is, this industry, this marketplace and the rules of engagement are constantly changing," he said.

"It's now a global, competitive playing field. Never has this industry experienced a time of such total re-invention."

Success, he said, "is all about speed. We recently brought a new product to the market in less than 18 months from vision to reality."

DaimlerChrysler recently joined Kettering as a co-operative education partner. This year Kettering students will join the company initially in manufacturing engineering positions, with opportunities for expanding the co-op program into other areas.

LaSorda told students the three values he feels will help them succeed in the global marketplace are the willingness to seek challenges, full flexibility, and an understanding and ability to embrace diversity. "People who can thrive in an operating environment of constant change will succeed," he said.

 Accompanying LaSorda to campus were four DaimlerChrysler vice presidents who are Kettering/GMI alumni. They included: Kettering Trustee BruceCoventry, Don Dees, Fred Goedtel and Larry Lyons.

Written by Dawn Hibbard
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