Across Campus

March 11, 2019

VAGTC auto symposium covers tariffs, technology

Business owners and executives from across West Michigan learned about the effects of tariffs on the auto industry, the global automotive outlook, and how to attract talent during the 20th West Michigan Automotive Suppliers Symposium.

The March 7 event, hosted by the Van Andel Global Trade Center, was held at the DeVos Center. 

Keynote speakers Dave Jerovsek, president of GHSP North America, and Marc Smeyers, chief technology officer at GHSP, said staying true to the company's core values helped them through three tough transitions.

"Our core values are at the center of our business," said Jerovsek. "We changed what we do, but not who we are. Core values define what we need to do and set our long-term vision."

Lisa Reisman, co-founder and executive director of MetalMiner, said her beliefs about the effects of tariffs are somewhat controversial.

"Tariffs are not the factor that caused price increases," said Reisman. "The 232 tariffs helped lift prices but they didn't cause it."

Reisman said the rise in commodity and industrial metals prices began in 2017, several months before the tariffs began in March 2018. She said companies need to look at profits to see the impact of tariffs. She added that while some companies went down or held steady in 2018, at least 12 industries posted profits.

Grand Valley alumnus Mike Wall, ’94, executive director of automotive analysis at IHS Markit, said trade and tariffs will continue to be a threat to the industry.

"General pressure on vehicle pricing will be in our crosshairs because of tariffs on vehicles and parts," said Wall. "Europe and Japan are vulnerable, but it's been a big help to possibly have Canada and Mexico pulled off the table."

Wall said the vehicle sales outlook will benefit from strong consumer confidence, job growth and credit availability, but federal action on interest rates and the risk of policy mistakes could hurt sales.

Schaub appointed acting dean of Brooks College

Provost Maria C. Cimitile has appointed Mark Schaub, chief international officer, as acting dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, effective February 25.

Anne Hiskes, Brooks College dean, had announced her retirement at the end of the academic year and, prior to that date, has taken a personal leave of absence.

Schaub was named executive director of the Padnos International Center in 2004, after a reorganization of university colleges created the College of Interdisciplinary Studies. He started working at Grand Valley in 1999 as a professor of writing. Prior to joining Grand Valley, he served as director of the writing program at the American University in Cairo.

Cimitile credited Hiskes for her leadership skills as dean, guiding Brooks College to national recognition for its Sustainable Agricultural Project and Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse initiative. 

"Under Anne's leadership, the college enhanced its reputation for innovative programs, inclusion and diversity, promoting global awareness and teaching excellence," Cimitile said.

Cimitile said Schaub works across the university in support of education abroad programs, international student and scholar services, faculty Fulbright coordination, overseas partnerships and other global learning initiatives. He has served on multiple university-wide committees and task forces and has a demonstrated commitment to shared governance and student success, she added.

headshot: Mark Schaub

Mark Schaub

New scholarship honors retired professor

Grand Valley alumni, faculty and friends established the Bennet L. Rudolph Endowed Marketing Scholarship to honor the retired professor of marketing.

Mark Olesnavage, ’75 and ’80, said Rudolph’s student-centered approach was inspiration to him and many others. “It’s an honor to do this for Ben, as a thank you for his many years of caring,” Olesnavage said.

Rudolph worked at Grand Valley for nearly 40 years, 1973-2010.

Laurie Beard, ’81, participated in the effort and said it was gratifying to recognize Rudolph, who had made a positive impact on the lives of more than 10,000 students during his tenure.

“Ben was an absolutely wonderful professor — smart, savvy, fun, challenging — a true marketing guru who used real-world case studies very effectively,” Beard said.

The fund was established to assist students who are majoring in marketing with the cost of their Grand Valley education. Scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate juniors or seniors who have expressed financial need. Applicants must also show academic promise with a minimum GPA of 3.5, with a preference given to those with a GPA 3.7 or higher.

This gift is a part of the Laker Effect campaign, which is transforming the lives of students and enhancing the West Michigan community. Learn more about the campaign at


headshot: Ben Rudolph

Ben Rudolph

Page last modified March 8, 2019