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Auto industry must prepare for exodus of boomers


Dr. David E. Cole

The U.S. automotive and manufacturing industries are rapidly moving toward a team-focused industry of highly educated workers.

“We are at the edge of a revolution,” said Dr. David E. Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, and chairman of Auto Harvest, a new organization being developed to facilitate the flow of intellectual property in and out of the auto industry.

Cole appeared at the Feb. 11 Good Morning Livingston Program. His program, “The Automotive Future: Fast and Furious,” concentrated on the rapid changes in structure and technology the industry is undergoing.

“It’s the team, the team, the team,” Cole said. “Knowledge is the competitive edge.”

The changes in styles for automotive leaders – from “king” to “coach,” and from “masculine” to more female-centric  – signals great opportunities for women.

Cole sees the state of Michigan faring well in the future as the auto industry rebounds, as long as it settles the “talent issue.”

“It was the major story after the products at the Auto Show,” Cole said. “The boomer exodus is a big deal. We’ve got to get young people educated and in the proper positions.”

To see the PowePoint of Cole’s presentation, click here.

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