Nichols, Walker join Auto Alley

Jan 27, 2006

Kettering's outreach efforts into the state's technology community shift into high gear.

Kettering University extended its reach into Southeast Michigan's technology and business communities in January when two staff members joined leadership teams at Automation Alley.

Automation Alley, which drives the growth and image of Southeast Michigan's technology economy, elected Bob Nichols to serve a three-year term on its board of directors. Nichols is Kettering's vice president of corporate relations and enrollment services.

He is one of six new board members elected during Automation Alley's 2006 annual meeting in Troy on Jan. 24.

"Our board of directors includes some of Southeast Michigan's most experienced, influential and hard working professionals," said Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation Alley. "The continued support of the region's technology, business and educational communities, as represented by our board, is a testament to the strength of Automation Alley and its members."

Nichols said the mission of Automation Alley and Kettering University blend beautifully. "Kettering needs to be involved with organizations like Automation Alley because it links industry, government and academia. Partnerships really are our future, especially if we are going to attract, develop and retain a skilled workforce required by the knowledge-based economy," Nichols said. "It is in our best interest to be heavily invested in this across our University."

Automation Alley board members serve as key decision-makers and play an instrumental role in the organization's growth, program development and member services. The other new board members are:

  • Ed Donovan, president, Flint-Genesee Economic Growth Alliance,
  • Brian Balow, member, Dickinson Wright,
  • Kathy Elston, vice president Michigan marketing and sales, Blue Cross Blue Shield,
  • Scott Goemmel, executive vice president, PMV Technologies, and
  • Dennis Herrick, senior vice president and CFO, Beaumont Hospital.

Jerry Rush, senior director, government and community affairs at ArvinMeritor, will remain as president of Automation Alley through 2006. A new president will be elected during the 2007 annual meeting.

Automation Alley's board also includes:

  • Stephen Cassin, executive director Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development, Macomb County,
  • Deborah Hoadley, director of business outreach, County of Wayne,
  • Frederick Hoffman, state relations director, DaimlerChrysler Corp.,
  • Claudia Killeen, manager of economic development, General Motors Corp.,
  • Brian Kundinger, president & CEO, Analytical Process Systems,
  • Gary Mayo, director government affairs and corporate responsibility, Visteon Corp.,
  • Brian McGinnity, executive vice president of finance, Tesco Engineering Inc.,
  • Charlie Pryde, government relations officer, Ford Motor Co.,
  • Ken Rogers, executive director, Automation Alley,
  • Dennis Toffolo, deputy county executive, Oakland County,
  • John Voorhorst, vice president, Denso International America Inc., and Peter Zeiler, business development representative, City of Detroit/Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.


Kettering's Roxanne Walker also has agreed to serve in a leadership role for Automation Alley. A corporate manager in Kettering's Co-op Education and Career Services area, Walker will chair Automation Alley's newly restructured Workforce Development Committee. The group is assigned the task of providing a collaborative environment to maximize immediate and systemic educational opportunities in an effort to build and grow the region's knowledge-based workforce. Walker is joined by Vice Chair David Darbyshire, engineer/owner of DASI Solutions.

"As members of Automation Alley collaborate together to promote growth from our collective strengths, the Workforce Development Committee will focus our efforts to strengthen Southeast Michigan's future workforce for the knowledge economy," she said. "The interdependency of industry, government, and education requires creating solutions from our combined insight if we're to generate meaningful success. Together, the members of the Workforce Development Committee will strive to accelerate growth in Southeast Michigan's talent pool, in the classroom and on the job, through knowledge sharing and creative cooperation," she added.

The committee will focus its efforts on career preparation and awareness and will work with regional educational institutions. Past programs and seminars of the Workforce Development Committee include the Scholarship Program, the State of E-Learning and Superhighway to Success: Career Pathways for the 21st Century.

"The workforce is Southeast Michigan's most valuable natural resource that requires the regular attention of business, educators and government leaders," said Darbyshire. "By investing today in the skills of the current and future workforce, Automation Alley will continue to be a global leader in technology and business innovation. Our next great generation must start with a quality education and skill set that prepares them for the challenges of an ever changing emerging sector marketplace."

For more information on the Workforce Development Committee, call (800) 427-5100.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley drives the growth and image of Southeast Michigan's technology economy through a collaborative culture that focuses on workforce and business development initiatives. More than 600 businesses, educational institutions and government entities belong to Automation Alley, covering an eight county area and the City of Detroit. Automation Alley promotes regional prosperity through the Automation Alley International Business Center, which provides business attraction services and exporting assistance; the Automation Alley Technology Center, which brings together businesses, educators and government to help entrepreneurs accelerate technology commercialization; and the GLIMA Network, a state-wide association for individuals engaged with and involved in technology-oriented industries.

Written by Pat Mroczek,
with source materials from Automation Alley
(810) 762-9533