BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Paul Wheeler was recently appointed to the position of Senior Manager, Product Strategy and Analysis for the Fuel and Brake Delivery Product Line at Cooper Standard.
Prior to joining Cooper Standard, Paul spent 15 years at TI Automotive, both in Europe and North America, with responsibilities ranging from Product Engineering and Program Management to Business Planning and Sales. Paul has in-depth experience with automotive forecasting, strategic analysis and financial planning in the Tier supplier automotive industry.
Paul holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brunel University in London, UK and graduated from Michigan State University's Weekend MBA in Troy, Mich. in May 2014.
Tom Libby is a Loyalty Solutions Expert with IHS Markit based in Southfield, Mich. As a Loyalty Solutions Expert, Tom provides insights and supporting analyses on various topics to U.S. – based automotive clients. One of IHS Markit’s thought leaders, Tom frequently writes for the company's blog where he posts compelling questions and commentary. Prior to joining IHS, Tom worked at both Ford Motor Company (Ford and Lincoln-Mercury Divisions) and J.D. Power and Associates (including the Power Information Network).
Tom is a member of the Board of Directors and past President of the Society of Automotive Analysts, and he is also a member of the Automotive Press Association. During 2009 Tom wrote a regular blog called the Libby Letter for the on-line version of the Detroit Free Press.
Tom received a bachelor’s degree in history from Amherst College and an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Columbia University. He has served as an adjunct Professor of Market Research at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
Jeff Bagalis is a Director in the Dispute Advisory & Forensic Services Group. He has provided litigation consulting services for purposes including professional malpractice, financial reporting fraud, automotive industry OEM and supplier claims, business interruption claims, post-acquisition disputes. In connection with these services, he regularly performs fact finding and discovery assistance, lost profit calculations, business valuations, lost earnings and wages computations, and other financial analyses.
Susan Bairley is an award-winning communication professional with proven success in corporate practice, public affairs, media relations, strategic and executive communications and agency management. Includes a strong knowledge base in automotive manufacturing, research technology, financial services, higher education and information technology.
Chris is the Managing Director of a second stage fund that invests in entrepreneurs, innovators and integrated products that are ready for accelerated commercialization. The fund’s goal is to empower its partners to enhance product development, scalability, and marketability. He also serves as a business mentor to several Michigan based accelerator organizations and he is an angel investor to several early stage startups.
Chris’ work history spans cross-functional areas, including Finance, Operations, Sales and Marketing. He was previously a Manager in KPMG’s Corporate Strategy / M&A consulting practice, led projects at J.D. Power and Associates, was responsible for overseeing new business development at a business unit of Capital One, and held operations roles with 100+ staff at Chrysler.
Chris is in the Executive MBA program at the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business and graduated with honors from Albion College.
Gary is a 12 year veteran of the automotive industry and graduate of Oakland University business school with a focus in Marketing and Information Systems Management.
Experience includes account management in component & system sales, sales expansion planning, competitor intelligence, marketing systems development and market research at DENSO. He has also spent time forecasting North & South America powertrain production as a Senior Powertrain Analyst at LMC Automotive. He is currently the North American Sales planning lead at DENSO.
Gary's history with SAA dates back to 2011 when he joined as a member of the newly founded Young Professionals Network (YPN). He continued to support YPN in various roles including the group Director and SAA Board Advisor. In which time he managed all aspects of YPN events, membership, and developed a sponsorship package to support future growth. He continues to support both SAA and YPN events as a member and non-voting supporter of the SAA’s Board.
As the Trade Commissioner responsible for the Automotive Industry within the Consulate General of Canada in Detroit, Anne Cascadden has responsibilities to promote Canadian supplier capabilities and investment value proposition in this industry within the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
Anne has been with the Consulate for over 25 years. She began in the Tourism division before moving to Trade in 1993 and took over the automotive file in 2000.
Ms. Cascadden was born in Windsor, Ontario. She holds diplomas in Communications and Tourism Marketing and a B.S. degree in Political Science.
Boris Gavric is the global vice president of sales and marketing for Henniges Automotive. Boris joined Henniges in April 2003 and is responsible for development and delivery of global customer strategies, growth and marketing in addition to new markets and innovation in sealing and glass encapsulation business. He has 16 years of experience in engineering, operations, M&A, global sales, and marketing.
Boris earned a BS in Biology; a Hons.B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering (University of Windsor), a Masters in Biomedical Engineering (Wayne State), and an MBA (Michigan State). He received the Young Leaders in Manufacturing Award from SAE International in 2009.
Ken Horbatiuk is Manager of Competitive Intelligence for NAFTA FCA US LLC. With over 32 years at the company, he has held various positions with increasing responsibility in Sales Operations, Product Strategy and Product Planning. Prior to joining FCA, he worked at GM of Canada.
He is an automotive consultant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a life-time member with the Automotive Hall of Fame and a member of the Automotive Press Association.
Ken received his BBA with Majors in Business and Economics from Northwood University and has served as Adjunct Instructor at the institution. He also earned an MBA with a Marketing concentration from Wayne State University.
Colin Langan is a Director in the General Industrials group at UBS covering the US Automotive sector. He joined UBS in 2005 as an Associate Analyst in this sector.
Earlier in his career, Colin was a Senior Associate at Deloitte & Touche. He holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School and a BS in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame. Colin is a CFA charterholder and a certified public accountant.
Mike Hedge recently reestablished Hedge & Company, Inc., a marketing and corporate communications consultancy, after having served as Vice President – North America Marketing and Corporate Communications of Parrot, Inc., the US subsidiary of a French manufacturer and marketer of Bluetooth hands-free automotive technologies and other wireless consumer electronics products.
At Parrot, he initially helped set-up and run its North American operations in Southfield, MI. As the company grew, he devoted his full-time to marketing and communications. Working closely with the US sales team and major customers, he helped take Parrot from $10 million in sales to more than $25 million in about three years, and raise its awareness ranking in installed hands-free car kits to #1 in the market from a distant 3rd place. He is known for his “can-do” spirit and for getting things done.
His specific responsibilities included brand and executive positioning, competitive product analysis, research, advertising, public relations, website and social media development, retail point of sale, trade show support including exhibit construction, and customer sales programs. In addition, he managed a budget of $6 million, one advertising agency and two PR firms. He was also the company’s US spokesman on many issues related to cell phone use and safe driving. Near the end of his tenure, he was also working to form a consortium of OEM and aftermarket suppliers of infotainment devices, cell phone companies and related industry associations to help the industry become more proactive in responding to “driver distraction” concerns being voiced by members of the US Congress and others.
Prior to joining Parrot, Hedge was president and CEO of Hedge & Company, Inc., an award-winning, full-service strategic public relations and marketing communications agency he founded in 1985 which grew to having 21 employees and dozens of clients.
Located in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Hedge & Company clients were primarily automotive and technology related. While the firm served companies and developed broad experience in many markets over the years, Hedge & Company had a particular expertise in helping clients sell to the automotive original equipment, aftermarket, and heavy-duty truck markets, and to related consumer markets.
Mr. Hedge has more than 30 years of experience in the marketing and communications fields. After graduating from Wayne State University in Detroit with a degree in journalism and public relations, he began his career as a reporter with a suburban daily newspaper. Next, he spent four years in local government as Community Relations Director for the City of Southfield, Michigan.
He left local government to form his own public relations firm and continue a family tradition in automotive public relations. After nine successful years, he merged his firm with a Detroit area advertising agency and set up and ran their public relations practice in addition to serving as a Vice President of the agency and member of its Board of Directors. Four years later, he left to form Hedge & Company, Inc.
Over the years, Hedge & Company clients included such notable companies as two French companies, Parrot and automotive supplier, Valeo, as well as its technology joint venture, Valeo/Raytheon; 3M Automotive; Meritor (formerly ArvinMeritor); Delphi; TRW Electronics; Tenneco Automotive (and its Monroe and Walker brands); Schefenacker Vision Systems (Germany); Acunia Telematics (Belgium); Pricedex Software, Inc., (Canada); and Salion, Inc., and Trilogy, Inc., two software firms headquartered in Austin, Texas. Hedge & Company also served consultancies such as gedas USA, supplier of IT services; Planning Perspectives, Inc., an automotive consulting and research firm; and Ernst & Young, LLP.
Mr. Hedge serves on the board of trustees of the Japhet School, an independent school in Madison Heights, MI. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Analysts, the Society of Automotive Engineers and several professional news organizations. He is an avid sailor, a licensed (but inactive) pilot and enjoys an occasional round of golf. Mr. Hedge has two grown daughters, and lives in Bingham Farms, MI.
Itay Michaeli, Citi Research
Itay Michaeli is the Director, U.S. Autos & Auto Parts at Citi Investment Research & Analysis covering the U.S. Autos & Auto Parts. He joined the firm in 2001. As a dual equity and fixed income analyst, Michaeli’s research encompasses the entire capital structure focusing on the equity, corporate bonds and CDS contracts of covered issuers. He has also previously covered the Aerospace & Defense sector for Citi, served as a senior fixed income analyst covering automotive, aerospace/defense, supermarkets and tobacco. Michaeli holds a bachelor of science degree in finance and accounting from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
With more than 15 years in the automotive industry, Rebecca currently works as senior analyst at EY and is a member of the Global Automotive and Transportation Center team. She is the lead specialist for her firm’s Retail & Distribution sub-sector as well as supporting clients and initiatives in other sub-sectors including vehicle manufacturers and suppliers (OE and aftermarket). Prior to EY, Rebecca held positions in analysis, brand strategy, product information and research. Rebecca earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Michigan State University and a Masters in Information Science from Wayne State University.
Jeff Schuster is Senior Vice President of Forecasting at LMC Automotive. He is responsible the Americas, with forecasting activity in North and South American under his direction. Mr. Schuster is also a member of the LMC Automotive board of directors. Included in his role is the leadership of the regional sales, production and powertrain forecasting services that detail manufacturer, segment, platform, model, and plant trends. In addition, he is one of the firm’s primary global automotive experts.
Mr. Schuster has been tracking developments in the global automotive industry for nearly twenty years and has been with LMC Automotive since its inception in 2011. He is widely quoted by the automotive media in print, radio and broadcast television. He frequently makes industry conference and seminar presentations covering the current assessment and outlook of the automotive industry.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Schuster led the automotive forecast division of J.D. Power and Associates and has experience in financial analysis and cash management in the automotive supply base.
Mr. Schuster holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a Master of Science degree in corporate finance from Walsh College. He is an active member of Society of Automotive Analysts and the Automotive Press Association.
J was appointed Director of Judges for the automotive industry’s PACE Award’s honoring innovation, technological advances and breakthrough processes after he retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The PACE Awards are in their 16th year and solicit applications world-wide from companies on the forefront of the automotive supply community. The annual awards are sponsored by Automotive News to identify and honor the premium innovation contributions to break through, game changing innovation annually. At PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) and J.D. Power & Associates, J’s international consulting involvement spanned the entire manufacturing and distribution value network from production parts suppliers to vehicle assemblers including retail distributors, financial institutions and dealerships. He is an author, industry commentator, an attorney and an industry thought leader on processes for companies to accelerate collaboration and innovation in their products and services.
As a PwC automotive consulting leader, J led operational projects involving process improvement, business strategies, market entry, collaboration, distribution, innovation and customer relationship management.
At PwC he co-authored the PwC study, “The Second Automotive Century.” regarding the coming radical changes in the automotive industry. He was one of the authors of, “The Collaborative Imperative,” published by PwC Consulting (later re-published by IBM) to document the business model changes for successful collaborative business relationships. J also contributed to two other books at PwC: “Customer Relationship Management: A Strategic Imperative in the World of e-Business,” about best practices in acquiring and retaining customers, and “Metacapitalism” covering changes to the global economy because of the increasing use of the Internet.
J was Senior Partner at J. D. Power & Associates, and also Managing Director of their Tokyo joint-venture company. At Power he led initiatives to create and launch unique Power research services and build a consulting group. He published "The Revolution in Auto Retailing” forecasting improvements in leaner vehicle distribution systems, new selling practices and improved automotive retailing processes.
While with JDP&A J was a research associate working with MIT's International Motor Vehicle Program to the publication of the industry best selling, "The Machine that Changed the World!" (Republished 2007).
As National Automotive Dealers Association Vice President, J was responsible for the 400 member staff, including all association operations. He worked on Capitol Hill, with regulatory agencies and with the IRS and other agencies on tax and inventory issues representing the industry’s 20,000 franchised car, truck and heavy truck dealers. While NADA Vice President J co-authored the book, "Betting on the Franchise", which predicted the unbundling of the dealership facilities, network shrinkage, public ownership of dealership chains, industry consolidation, and the narrowing retail margins.
He is Chairman of the Northwood University Board of Trustees overseeing the three campuses and expanding international curricula for undergraduate, graduate, and advanced degree programs for the approximately 6000 full time equivalent students. He is a lawyer, with a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University National Law Center and a member of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Virginia Bar Associations. He has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from Northwood University.
J is a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science majoring in International Affairs. A pilot and combat veteran, he flew over 350 sorties in Vietnam on two different tours and has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters.
He and his wife, Lynn, live in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. They are both involved in local and national charitable efforts.