Automotive, Business, People

Auto Industry on Rebound; Now Let’s Develop Future Leaders

Society of Automotive Analysts Launches Young Professionals Network

News reports of automakers, suppliers and dealer groups posting larger than expected profits continue to surface.  Increased vehicle production levels have helped the Detroit-based automakers generate their first operating profit in more than five years.  Announcements of metro Detroit manufactured vehicles increasingly getting exported to other markets are on the rise.  Signs of jobs coming back to the Detroit region are gradually appearing on local company job boards.  New model launches manufactured here in Michigan equipped with the latest advanced propulsion technologies and attractive electronic applications are here to stay and more are on their way to dealer showrooms.  These reassuring signals are bringing a heightened sense of optimism to local industry participants and those outside who invest in the sector.

As the industry transformation continues, will the hard lessons learned while navigating through the downturn be forgotten?  What type of work force will the industry require to achieve the next phase of growth?  What programs and incentives are in place to ignite excitement in our region’s young people?  What importance does the dissemination of ideas, concepts and solutions lead to strengthening the local automotive marketplace?  These are some of the questions on the minds of today’s most influential industry professionals and strategists.  Helping to address these business, educational and networking needs is the focus of the Society of Automotive Analysts Young Professionals Network (YPN).

The companies who are today’s winners value the importance of leveraging their industry contacts and collaborating with key customers and industry groups to better achieve their strategic goals. We see examples of these companies all around us and reports of new investments being made by the leading universities to attract the next wave talent to our region.  Despite this observed progress, a greater focus must be made by automotive companies to develop our future leaders to keep the positive momentum going.

At YPN, we want to bring together the industry’s most influential young participants (manufacturing professionals, designers, engineers, sales representatives, bankers, analysts, dealer representatives and others) in a coordinated way while focusing on how to continue to grow and leverage our young talent.  Our hope is that YPN will serve as the industry’s unified effort to invest in the young human capital needed to sustain the ongoing industry transformation toward profitability.

As we continue to build our membership base, we are garnering support from companies with a global focus and presence and are working with them to establish mentoring programs to promote the industry’s future leaders.  Since our launch in July 2010, YPN’s unique member composition quickly captured the interest of young professionals at the leading global automotive organizations. By providing attractive industry social and professional development events and opportunities to network and connect with other professionals, the YPN group leads to more valuable employees and industry participants. Further, our vision of providing access to key groups of people allows members to expand their own business intelligence and enables them to make better business decisions faster.  We welcome those who want to make the local automotive region sustainable and we want to be the group to partner with.

These efforts, we think, are important to keeping our industry competitive and vital to moving the Detroit region forward to compete on a global scale.  We invite our automotive partners and political leaders who want to make a positive impact in the region to help us facilitate this exchange of ideas to keep the positive momentum going.

Come learn about the SAA’s new Young Professionals Network at the group’s first social gathering at Commune Lounge in Royal Oak on Aug. 26th, 2010.  For more information about the event or to become an SAA YPN member visit:  Organizations seeking to join our network of partners can express their interest by sending an email to Chris Brower at

ChrisBrower  is a manager in KPMG’s Advisory Services practice located in Detroit, MI.  He can be reached at

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One comment on “Auto Industry on Rebound; Now Let’s Develop Future Leaders

  1. Well said! The most resonant point in my mind is "What type of work force will the industry require to achieve the next phase of growth? ". The industry (the city, and even the nation) needs to stay away from it's bad habits of the past. We need to embrace new technologies, ideas, and methodologies if we want to have a diversely skilled workforce . Great leaders need diverse their skill sets and networks, and this YPN looks like a great start. I think this type of organization is just what we Young Professionals need….in addition to a drink! :) I look forward to sharing some drinks and ideas with area professionals….I'll be there!

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