‘DRIVEN’: Book features auto industry’s African American trailblazers

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    380pxLeon-Richardson

    Several major African American automotive suppliers. like Leon C. Richardson of ChemicoMays, William F. Pickard of Global Automotive Alliance, and Ronald Hall of Bridgewater Interiors, are featured in the soon-to-be-released project, “DRIVEN: A Tribute to African American Achievement in the Automotive Industry.”

    Richardson founded Chemico Systems after being told by his former boss to concentrate on being a good salesman because he would never be president of the company. Richardson, then a top salesman, quit his job to start his own company, Chemico Systems, a manufacturer of nonhazardous chemical products for use in the automotive industry. He later hired his former boss after buying his company out of bankruptcy. In 2006, Chemico Systems merged with Mays Chemical, creating ChemicoMays, the largest African American chemical concern in North America.

    Pickard is the chairman and CEO of Global Automotive Alliance, the first minority owned group of tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers of plastics parts to the top three US Automakers. Several enterprises comprise the alliance, including a headliner assembly company, automotive interior trim supplier, and an inventory management and logistics company.

    Hall is the president and CEO of Bridgewater Interiors, a joint venture with Johnson Controls. Bridgewater is an automotive supply company that started with a $900 million seating contract with General Motors. Since its inception, the company has grown from employing 33 workers in its Detroit facility to having more than 1,500 employees today.

    Together, the three minority automotive suppliers generate $1.5 billion in annual revenue and employ more than 2000 workers across the country.

    Richardson is also the president of the National Association of Black Suppliers. The organization works to promote long-term mutually beneficial relationships between Black automotive suppliers and the automotive industry.

    Produced by Real Times Media and Who’s Who Publishing, “DRIVEN” tells the history of African Americans in the industry, the influence of the unions and the impact the industry has had on the city of Detroit. It celebrates African American trailblazers who have paved the way, today’s contemporaries, like Willliams, who are revitalizing the industry, and the emerging leaders who will catapult it into the next generation.

    Set to be unveiled on Jan. 12, 2011 at 6 p.m. during the auto industry preview at Cobo Center, “DRIVEN” has been dubbed the multicultural event of the 2011 North American International Auto Show.

    Sponsors of the “DRIVEN” project include Chevrolet, the UAW, Toyota, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, Delphi, Visteon, Honda, Global Automotive Alliance, Volkswagen, Chemico Mays, Rickman Enterprises, James Transportation Group and Bridgewater Interiors, among many others.

    Tickets are $100 and include a copy of “DRIVEN,” as well as an exclusive, all-access sneak peek of the auto show floor. To purchase tickets, or for more information regarding the “DRIVEN” project, contact Real Times Media at (313) 963-8100.

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