The Real-World View: A Global Perspective

Jim Kamsickas - President & CEO, Dana Incorporated

Jim Kamsickas is president, chief executive officer, and a director of Dana Incorporated.

Jim is one of the most experienced, longstanding industry veterans with more than 30 years in the mobility business, spanning the light-vehicle, commercial-vehicle, and off-highway segments.  He has led global organizations that supply significant vehicle content, including powertrains, interiors, acoustics, exteriors, seating, electrodynamics, sealing, thermal, industrial motion, aftermarket components, and systems.  Prior to joining Dana in 2015, Jim was president and CEO of International Automotive Components (IAC) for eight years.  In addition, he served as head of Lear Corporation's Interior Systems Division and held several additional senior leadership roles within that organization.

Jim has actively represented the interests of the automotive supply industry in U.S. congressional proceedings and the broader mobility supply industry as a member of the President of the United States’ council on manufacturing and job creation. He has also served on Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and General​ Motors supplier councils. Currently, he is on the Board of Trustees of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) and the United Way of Greater Toledo and is a member of the Toledo Rotary Foundation.​

Jim earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Central Michigan University and an MBA from Michigan State University.  He also hold an honorary degree, Doctorate of Commercial Science, from Central Michigan University.

Session Leader: Chris Patterson - Independent Director

Chris Patterson spent his entire working career in the commercial vehicle manufacturing industry, beginning with Canadian Kenworth Co., then Freightliner Corp., Volvo Trucks North America, and Daimler Trucks North America - from which he retired in 2009 as president and CEO.

Since then, Chris has served as an independent director for Tomkins, PLC - owner of the Gates Corporation at the time, JELD-WEN, Inc., and FleetPride, Inc., and he is still an active member of the boards of Modine Manufacturing Co., Finning International, Inc., and AxleTech Inc.

Chris holds both a bachelor of arts degree in economics and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario from his native Canada.

Trade Policy & Impacts on the Aftermarket

Ann Wilson - Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, MEMA

Ann Wilson serves as the senior vice president for government affairs for the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).  In this position, she acts as the chief lobbyist for motor vehicle suppliers and MEMA's four market segment associations including AASA, HDMA, MERA, and OESA.

Ann has represented various industry groups before Congress and state legislatures including the Louisiana Municipal Association, the American Trucking Associations, the American Moving and Storage Association, and six years as the chief lobbyist for the Rubber Manufacturers Association representing the major U.S. tire manufacturers.

Ann is a graduate of Washington University School of Law.

Session Leader: Chris Spear - President, ATA

Chris Spear is a government relations specialist with over two decades of experience on five continents, serving the transportation, energy, and defense technology sectors.

Chris is president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, advocating public policy on behalf of the nation's trucking industry.  He serves on the Board of Directors for the American Transportation Research Institute, the Northwestern University Transportation Center Advisory Council, the Congressional Award Foundation, and the Louisa Swain Foundation.

Previously, Chris was vice president of government affairs for Hyundai Motor Company, serving on the Global Automakers Executive Committee; vice president of emerging markets for Honeywell International; and vice president for Honeywell government relations in Washington and Brussels, managing corporate interests in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and Latin America.  Chris is a graduate of the Honeywell Executive Development Program, a receipient of Honeywell's Premier Achievement Award, and was awarded the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Civilian Service Medal.

Chris holds master's and bachelor's degrees from the University of Wyoming.

The Global Economic Overview

Bill Strauss - Senior Economist & Economic Advisor, Chicago Federal Reserve

William (Bill) A. Strauss is a senior economist and economic advisor in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which he joined in 1982.  His chief responsibilities include analyzing the current performance of both the Midwest economy and the manufacturing sector for use in monetary policy.  He also organizes the Bank's Economic Outlook Symposium and Auto Outlook Symposium and conducts industrial and manufacturing roundtables throughout the year.

Bill has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago and Webster University in Chicago.  He currently teaches at DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and at the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.  His research papers include analysis of the manufacturing sector, the automotive sector, the Midwest regional economy, the trade-weighted dollar, business cycles, and Federal Reserve payments operations.  Bill has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows and quoted in the major business magazines and newspapers.  He has also provided testimony concerning manufacturing issues to the U.S. Senate.

Bill is a current and past president and board member of several association and university economics boards and councils.

Bill earned a B.A. in economics and geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an M.A. in economics from Northwestern University.  He is also a Certified Business Economist (CBE).

Aftermarket Industry Economy & Outlook

John Blodgett - Vice President, Sales & Marketing, MacKay & Company

John Blodgett started working for MacKay & Company, a specialized market research and consulting firm, in 1994 as a project manager overseeing single and multi-client research projects.  Today, Blodgett is vice president sales and marketing, responsible for client contact for single and multi-client projects.  Prior to MacKay & Company, Blodgett worked for John Fluke Manufacturing, Gould Electronics, and Syracuse Supply Company (Caterpillar Dealer) in a variety of sales positions.

Blodgett has served as vice president of the MPSA (Midwest Parts and Service Association) and is a member of TMC (Technology & Maintenance Council), AEM (Association of Equipment Manufacturers) and IAC (Intermodal Association of Chicago).  Blodgett received his B.S. in interdisciplinary engineering and management from Clarkson University and an MBA from Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Dr. Bob Dieli - President & Founder, RDLB, Inc.

Dr. Robert (Bob) F. Dieli is president and founder of RDLB, Inc., an economic research and management consulting firm based in Lomboard, IL.  In addition to being an advisor to firms in the manufacturing, trucking, management consulting, and financial services sectors, RDLB, Inc. also publishes Mr. Model, a monthly series of reports on current and prospective conditions in the U.S. economy.

Bob received a B.S. in finance, with honors, from Boston College in 1968, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977.

The Blurring Lines of Aftermarket Distribution

Chris Baer - President & CEO, VIPAR Heavy Duty

Chris Baer is president & CEO of VIPAR Heavy Duty and its family of companies.  Baer joined VIPAR Heavy Duty in 2002 as a director of program management.  In November 2003, the board of directors named Chris a vice president and corporate officer.  In November 2014, he became executive vice president.  Chris was named to his current role as president in October 2016.  Chris is responsible for day-to-day operations of VIPAR Heavy Duty and its family of companies including VIPAR Holdings, VHD Technology Group, Global Parts Network, and Power Heavy Duty.  He currently serves on the board for NEXUS North America as vice president.

Before joining VIPAR Heavy Duty, Chris was with Chicago Rawhide/SKF for 17 years in a variety of sales management roles, including his last role as director of automotive sales.  Chris has serves as a member of the AWDA Young Executive Society (YES) committee and earned the Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) designation from the University of the Aftermarket.  He is a 2014 recipient of the Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Management Education award.

Chris is a graduate of North Park University in Chicago.

Ryan Hadley - Vice President of Parts, Premier Truck Group





Greg Klein - President & CEO, Inland Truck Parts Company

Greg Klein has held various positions with Inland Truck Parts Company since 1995, including chief financial officer, vice president, and now president/CEO.  He serves as a member of the company's board of directors and as a trustee of the company's Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).  The company is 100% owned by its employees through the ESOP.

Greg is the past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Employee Owned S Corporations of America.

He earned his B.S. in accounting at the University of South Dakota.​

Tom Wiers - CEO & Owner, Wiers Fleet Partners





Session Leader: John Blodgett - Vice President, Sales & Marketing, MacKay & Company (profile above)

Session Leader: Tim Kraus - President & COO, Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association

Tim Kraus is the president and chief operating officer of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) and is a vice president of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).  An industry veteran, Tim joined HDMA and MEMA in 2004.  HDMA is MEMA's heavy duty market segment association that exclusively serves the suppliers of components to the commercial vehicle industry, both on and off-highway.

Kraus is responsible for the overall business operations of HDMA and is its primary spokesperson to the industry.  He is an industry advocate and provides leadership for the staff and membership on industry issues for the various events, forums, and councils of HDMA.  He also serves on the editorial boards of several industry trade publications and is active in industry associations and publications.

Prior to joining MEMA, Kraus served more than 20 years in executive positions with various HD and LV Industry suppliers.  Having spent his entire career in the motor vehicle parts industry, Kraus brings a strong background and knowledge base to the association.

As a 25+ year HDMA/MEMA member, Kraus was active in the association's activities since the early 1980s.  He served nine years on the HDMA board as a director and was its 2001 and 2002 chairman.  As a 14-year member of the Heavy Duty Business Forum, Kraus also served several years on its board of governors and as chairman in 2000.

Kraus holds a BSBA in marketing from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Future Aftermarket Technology

Joe Plomin - Senior Vice President & President, Aftermarket & Industrial and Trailer, Meritor, Inc.

Joe Plomin is senior vice president and president, aftermarket & industrial and trailer for Meritor, Inc.  In this role, he is responsible for leading the corporation's global aftermarket and industrial activities, trailer and components businesses, and global quality.

Previously, he was senior vice president and president, aftermarket & trailer and quality.  Prior to that, he served as senior vice president and president, international, responsible for the axle and brake businesses in Europe, Australia, Asia Pacific, and India.  He also had responsibility for global quality as Meritor moves towards meeting its M2019 objective of driving toward a zero-defect culture with less than 25 PPM.  Before joining Meritor, Joe was president of the electrical division at Remy International and was senior vice president and general manager of Remy International's commercial vehicle OEM and aftermarket business.  Prior to joining Delco Remy, he was president of Stewart Warner Instruments.

Joe earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Knox College in Galesburg, IL.

Mike Roeth - Executive Director, NACFE

Mike has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for over 30 years, is the executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), and leads the Trucking Efficiency Operations for the Carbon War Room.  Mike's specialty is brokering green truck collaborative technologies into the real world at scale.

Mike currently serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles, is a Department of Energy Merit Reviewer for the SuperTruck programs, and serves as Chairman of the Board for the Truck Manufacturers Association.  He understands the customers, operations, and intricacies of the commercial vehicle industry having held various positions in product development, engineering, reliability, quality, sales, materials, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

Mike has a bachelor of science degree in engineering from Ohio State University and a master's degree in organizational leadership from the Indiana Institute of Technology.

Gio Sordoni - Co-Founder & COO, XOS

Gio Sordoni is the co-founder and COO of XOS, the electric mobility company.  With experience in consulting, venture capital, and non-profit organizations, Gio has committed his career to seeking out business opportunities that satisfy the triple bottom line: profitability, positive social impact, and empowering people and small businesses.  At XOS, Gio helps organize the company's vision from an operational perspective: to design and scale viable electric alternatives for the commercial fleet industry.

Beginning with the launch of their fully electric Class 8 semi truck prototype, the ET-One, in December 2017, Gio and the XOS team are leading the charge to provide fleets with versatile, scalable electric solutions that benefit businesses' long-term bottom lines and assure a cleaner environmental impact industry-wide.

A graduate of George Washington University, Gio served as entrepreneur in residence for FriendlyScore, director of marketing for Malibu Family Wines, and co-founder of a strategic consultancy prior to his role at XOS.

Session Leader: Brian Daugherty - CTO, MEMA

Brian Daugherty is the chief technology officer for the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).

Before joining MEMA, Brian was the director of global intellectual property for Visteon Corporation.  At Visteon, he managed intellectual property and advanced development programs including advanced driver assistance (ADAS) programs and vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2X) systems.  Prior to that, Brian was Visteon's director of advanced global development.  During his 16-year tenure, Brian was also responsible for blind spot detection (BSD) systems for Honda and Chrysler and led the team that developed a FlexRay-based, failsafe steer-by-wire system for GM's Chevrolet Sequel.

Prior to Visteon, Brian spent 10 years at Ford Motor Company where he worked on robotics and advanced manufacturing as well as the development of electric power steering (EPS) systems and anti-lock brake systems (ABS).

He received a B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.S. from Stanford University, both in mechanical engineering.  Brian has eight patents.

Parts & Service: The Fleet Perspective

Scott Reed - Senior Vice President of Maintenance, Werner Enterprises

Keshav Sondhi - Director, Fleet Engineering and Sustainability, PepsiCo

For over 15 years, Keshav Sondhi has been leading technology development and vehicle engineering efforts at some of the largest fleets in the utility, manufacturing, and global logistics industries.  At PepsiCo, Keshav is responsible for managing vehicle engineering and vehicle acquisition programs.  His group is also responsible for developing and incorporating innovative vehicle technologies that will help PepsiCo achieve its sustainability goals.

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Keshav worked in a similar capacity at Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in California.  Before PG&E, he was employed at FedEx Express in Memphis.  While at FedEx, Keshav held several positions, including chief engineer for alternative vehicle programs, and he was responsible for global vehicle/asset management. 

Having worked for large fleets and also for an electric and natural gas utility, Keshav has a keen perspective on the opportunities and challenges that accompany the use of clean alternative fuels for fleet vehicles.  He is extremely passionate about reducing the environmental footprint of fleet operations.  In 2011, Keshav was awarded Aspen Institute's First Movers Fellowship for his commitment to reduce a fleet's reliance on petroleum-based fuels.

Keshav holds an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and a graduate degree in manufacturing/industrial engineering.  His studies and employment have spanned Asia, Europe, and the U.S.

Session Leader: Stu MacKay, MacKay & Company

Stuart (Stu) S. MacKay is president emeritus and founder of MacKay & Company.  MacKay & Company concentrates the majority of its research and consulting activity in the truck, heavy equipment, agricultural equipment, engine and parts, and service distribution businesses.  MacKay & Company maintains an extensive database on the truck, parts, engine, and equipment industries.

MacKay is the author of several articles on the truck industry, trucking, distribution, and related topics.  MacKay has served on the staffs of the Cummins engine company, its division Fleetguard, Inc., and Red Star Express Lines. 

MacKay holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Cornell University and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Printer-friendly version