Executive Director Update: Spark

We kicked it up into overdrive for the first quarter of 2016, with no signs of slowing down for the rest of the year.

Our biggest news is that we’re launching a half-day conference in May called SPARK. You’ll find more details below, but a unique feature of this conference is a matchmaking component, where companies seeking to become automotive suppliers can schedule introductory meetings with key manufacturing companies in Kentucky – including Ford and Toyota. Exhibit space and sponsorships are also available.

We started 2016 with a trip to the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, where autonomous cars, fuel economy, lightweighting and a shift in safety focus to crash avoidance were hot topics.

In February, KAIA joined key state legislators in Frankfort to announce Kentucky’s first automotive caucus. We look forward to working with this bipartisan group over the coming years on issues important to our members – including workforce training, tax policy, technology and infrastructure.

A few days later, we released new statistics demonstrating our continued growth and importance to the Commonwealth’s economy. In 2015, the industry produced more than 1.3 million cars and light trucks, increasing production of passenger vehicles by 2.4 percent and maintaining its status as the nation’s third-largest producer of cars, light trucks and SUVs. Automotive employment grew from more than 85,000 to nearly 90,000 and the number of auto-related manufacturing facilities grew to more than 480. Keep up the great work!

Finally, I attended the South Carolina Automotive Summit in February and will participate in the Southern Automotive Workforce Solutions Summit in Huntsville, Ala., this summer. These conferences are invaluable in tracking industry trends, both globally and right here in the Southeast, which we can share with our members and at our own events.

We continue to work on building membership and bringing you programs like SPARK and AutoVision that add value in terms of networking and professional development. We’ve added several members this year. Let us know if you’d like to join. If you’re already a member, we’d love for you to help us by reaching out to potential members in your circle. Call me at 270-349-2355 to learn more.

I look forward to seeing you at SPARK in May and AutoVision in September!

Dave Tatman, Executive Director

Let us hook you up

KAIA is playing matchmaker on May 23 in Louisville with SPARK: Connecting Kentucky’s Automotive Industry. Lindsay Chappell of Automotive News, who did such a great job for us at last year’s AutoVision, will be the keynote speaker and moderate discussions, including building supplier relationships, cultivating diversity among suppliers, and more.

If networking in the exhibitor hall isn’t enough for you, a limited number of exclusive packages will allow you to schedule 15-minute meetings with several procurement representatives from Kentucky’s leading automotive companies. Companies sending procurement representatives include AGC Automotive, Akebono, Ford, Hitachi, Mubea, Sumitomo and Toyota.

Sponsorships and exhibit space are available, and we hope you’ll join us for what is sure to be an engaging conference.

Looking ahead

Speaking of conferences, we have set the date and location for AutoVision 2016: September 12-13 in Lexington, KY.

If you recall, the inaugural conference last year was a resounding success, and we’re looking to top it. We plan to bring you a larger, more integrated exhibit hall, and we’re lining up insightful speakers and panelists.

Thank you to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development for renewing its presenting sponsorship. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or reserving exhibit space for AutoVision 2016, you can download a sponsorship packet here.

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