Kentucky seeks to be closely identified with the auto industry same as Detroit, says Gov. Steve Beshear when he launched the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association on Monday.
Beshear said at a Capitol news conference that the group aims to be the voice and unified icon for an industry sector that is important to our state’s growing economic health and growth. He added that the association is focusing on branding, leadership, and advocacy, and similarly, 12 other states have such types of organizations.
This 12-member board of directors is available to help and develop the association to create healthy and collaborative partnerships to advance the industry. He added that the association was not a governing party, but the state would support it.
The inaugural chairman will be the - Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes. Hayes is not sure how much state money would be spent to begin the partnership business. However, a minimal amount for costs such as mailings would be needed.
Kentucky had more than 1.2 million vehicles produced in 2013, which makes it rank third in light vehicle production and first per capita all over the nation. In addition, its vehicle export rate reached a record of $5.5 billion last year. Kentucky\'s 460 auto-related manufacturing businesses in the state employ nearly 82,000 people.
The names of the board members are as follows:
Mike Goss, a general manager with Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America Inc., Toru \"Richard\" Kamioke, president and CEO of Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc., Brandon Kessinger, vice president and general counsel for Akebono Brake Corp; Eric Henning, a regional director for General Motors Co.; Kurt Krug, vice president of North American human resources for INOAC.; Joe Adamcik, a director for AGC Automotive Americas; Doug Cain, CEO of Mubea North America; Gabby Bruno, a regional director for Ford Motor Co.; Mike Hirsch, vice president of operations for ZF Steering Systems LLC; Rich Whitaker, vice president of Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems Inc; and Jim Rachlin, president of Metalsa Light Vehicles USA and Australia.