Automotive Leaders Summit North America: Where Y'at?
The Automotive Leaders Summit brought together some of the most influential players in the industry to discuss, debate and share the hottest topics of the day. Senior executives from around the globe gathered at the Ritz Carlton New Orleans to connect and share the latest ideas and insights for the industry. From vehicle manufacturers, logistics and tier suppliers to future technology experts, their full analysis and debate presented the audience with some thought-provoking sessions.
Opening the conference, Peter Wooding, Three6Zero’s Chief Executive, launched the one day conference of presentations and discussions on the global supply chain saying “We are part of one of the biggest shifts the automotive industry has seen in recent years and I am delighted to be able to welcome you all to this conference and to discuss with our excellent speakers.”
Dietmar Ostermann, Senior Strategy and Operations Consulting Partner from PwC, gave a presentation on the Trends of the North American Automotive Industry and was followed by an in-depth analysis on whether the Trump Administration will affect the Automotive Industry by CAR Group’s Director of Industry, Labor & Economics Group, Kristin Dziczek. Touching upon the Trump Administration and the high-profile Mexico has played in the Administration’s policies, Armando Cortes Galicia, ProMéxico’s Executive Director of Heavy Industries gave a reflective view to round off the morning session in his presentation on NAFTA and Mexico.
After a short break, the conference reconvened with two panel discussions, the first on Finished Vehicle Distribution, where Kirk Williams, President & CEO, Proficient Auto Transport Inc was joined by Roy Schleicher, EVP Chief Commercial Officer of Jacksonville Port, Don Asdell, President & CEO International Automotive Processing, Costantino Baldissara, Commercial, Logistics and Operations Director, Grimaldi Group and Dennis Manns, Chief Commercial Officer, Road & Rail, to discuss the challenges in improving FVL. The next session brought together Mark Boucher, Director, Vehicle Logistics, Volkswagen Group of America, Richard McLaren, President, Unipart Logistics North America, Matthew Cartwright, CIO, United Road Services, Inc. and John MacGregor, President & CEO, TransDevelopment Group with Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain Editor Sam Ogle to discuss how close would the industry be to a fully connected supply chain network and would emerging technology improve visibility and communication across the industry.
Following an excellent lunch, Alex Kreetzer, Editor, New Mobility Magazine, was joined by Nick Templehoff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans Future Transportation Systems North America, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc for a discussion and video presentation on the Future of Freight Transportation and the challenges of truck platooning, droning technology and freight movement of the future. Utilising the theme of “tomorrow”, speakers then gathered to talk about Smart Infrastructure and the Cities of tomorrow. This session was once more moderated by Alex Kreetzer and featured a keynote introduction by Reuben Sarkar, Deputy Secretary of Transport for the US Department of Energy and how the US Government is working in support of the automotive industry towards creating sustainable transport systems and materials. Other panel speakers included Christian Kotscher, CEO and Founder, MetroTech Inc, Amie Devero, President, Solutions4Cities and Ryan Rice, Director of Transportation System Management & Operations (TSM&O), Colorado Department of Transport. The conversation ranged from disruptive change, to smart cities, energy initiatives, the smart cities challenge, data and telematics and ultimately, what will our urban landscape of the future really be like.
The final “future” session of the day centred around the emotive topic of “New Mobility vs Old Automotive” to debate the questions surrounding the idea that with new players entering the industry, will we see the end of the ‘traditional’ automotive era? This featured a keynote presentation from Arwed Niestroj, CEO & President, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc who was joined by panel speakers Paul Drysch, Vice President of Business Development and GM of APAC Region, RideCell Inc, Prashanthi Rao Raman, Senior Public Policy Manager, LYFT Inc, Paul Brubaker, President & CEO, Alliance for Transportation Innovation, Inc. and moderator Alex Kreetzer.
The Summit drew to a close with a panel moderated by Sam Ogle, Editor, Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain Magazine, who was joined by Mark Boucher, Director, Vehicle Logistics, Volkswagen Group of America, Arwed Niestroj, CEO & President, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc, Dennis Manns, Chief Commercial Officer, Road & Rail, Mark Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Road Services, Inc. to lend their insight into the day’s discussions. Delegates then retired to prepare for the Automotive Global Awards North America.
Alex Kreetzer - News Editor
Simon Duval Smith
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