Meet the Mainstage

The Michigan Automotive Suppliers Symposium is a yearly event bringing together business owners, senior management, and decision-makers from all tiers of the automotive industry. This premier automotive supplier event provides the most up-to-date industry forecasts, latest issues, and trends, with opportunities to network and learn from others in the increasingly challenging and ever-changing industry of automotive. The 2021 Symposium is bringing auto industry game-changers to the virtual mainstage! Meet the mainstage speakers below.

Mainstage presentations will be Livestream-only. 

Michael Smuts

Vice President of Finance at Lucid Motors

Michael is responsible for oversight of the organization’s accounting and finance activities. Before joining Lucid, Michael spent 25 years in various finance management roles at Ford Motor Company. As Global Director of Cost Optimization, he most recently managed a worldwide organization of cost reduction experts. Michael was previously CFO for Ford’s business in Southeast Asia with financial oversight for operations in over twenty countries. He also worked in Ford’s Corporate Finance group, where he developed a pension de-risking strategy designed to reduce the company’s overall financial risk. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Columbia University.

Mike Smuts, Lucid Motors

Sabreen Akarah-Mere

University Partner at Rivian

Sabreen's career has been nontraditional at best. Having studied Pre-Law, and Data Analytics at Syracuse University, she intended to eventually work towards a career in Public Policy and Litigation. However, things changed, and by circumstance, she fell into recruiting. Her passions in data and service leadership led to her current role, managing Early Career programs at the emerging Electric Vehicle Manufacturer, Rivian. She spearheaded the University Recruiting program for the company in 2019, taking the company from 50 interns to 250 in 2021. Since then, Rivian has partnered with 52 target schools with top-tier programs in STEM, Business and Supply Chain, and Finance to fulfill the company's hypergrowth hiring plans in the emerging Sustainable Mobility market. 

Sabreen Akarah-Mere, Rivian

Mike Wall

Executive Director of Automotive Analysis at IHS Markit

Mike brings over 25 years of financial analysis, forecasting, consulting, and manufacturing experience to the firm, with a primary focus on assisting manufacturers and financial firms in their evaluation and understanding of the auto industry, as well as in-depth analysis of vehicle markets and trends.  

Prior to joining IHS Markit, Mike was the Director of Forecasting at IRN, Inc. He has also held financial and analytical positions in the manufacturing and banking sectors. Mike graduated Summa Cum Laude with an undergraduate degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University.  He later earned the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation.

Mike Wall IHS Markit

Kevin Clay

President and CEO of Pridgeon & Clay

Pridgeon and Clay, Inc. (P&C) is an automotive parts supplier, that designs and manufactures metal stampings and assemblies for virtually all vehicles in North America.  The company was founded and is based in Grand Rapids, with additional facilities in Indiana, Mexico, and Hungary.  Representing the third generation of family ownership and operation, Kevin has been in his current office since May 2019.  Before becoming president, he held executive positions in charge of sales and business development, where he led efforts to develop, patent, and commercialize products including metal sealing solutions, selective catalytic reduction systems, and fuel cell bipolar plate manufacturing.  Before coming to work at P&C in 2006, he owned and operated a small franchise of pre-school, daycare, and infant centers in the Kalamazoo, MI area.  Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cornerstone University, as well as certifications in finance and lean manufacturing from Harvard and the University of Michigan, respectively.  He is Active in Original Equipment Supplier’s Association (OESA), Women in Manufacturing (WIM), and Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), where he holds a seat on the national board of directors.

Kevin Clay Pridgeon & Clay

Michael Ignaczak

Managing Director of ETO MAGNETIC CORP.

Michael has served as  President of ETO MAGNETIC CORP. responsible for the NA business of the ETO GRUPPE since 2009. Before he worked as the Technical Director for EKS Elektroteile GmbH in Vaihingen/Enz, Germany for 8 years. He started his career as Design Engineer for Electromagnetic Actuators at Elektroteile GmbH at Lake Constance, Germany. His main focus was the design of solenoids and valves for Commercial Vehicles and Passenger Cars. He brings over 30 years of experience to his role and has been involved in many different patents. Michael studied at the TU Dresden Mechanical Engineering and has a degree from the TU Ilmenau, Germany in Infrared and Laser Technology. He is married, has a daughter and three Grandchildren.

Michael Ignaczak ETO MAGNETIC

Keith Mulder

Vice President - Sales & Program Management at GHSP

Keith joined GHSP in 2012 and is currently Vice President of Sales and Program Management and leads an outstanding global team. He is responsible for the strategic growth of GHSP including account management, business development, marketing, and program management across a diverse set of markets. Prior to joining GHSP, Keith held technical leadership roles for Haynes Corporation, (now a Caterpillar Company) and Robert Bosch GmbH.  He holds a Masters of Business Administration from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Masters of Science in Engineering Management from the University of South Florida. Additionally, Keith has a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. Keith is a member of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, and the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Keith Mulder GHSP

Thomas Manganello

Partner at Warner Norcross + Judd

Tom represents clients in automotive supply chain contracting and the handling of legal matters between suppliers and automotive companies. Tom co-leads Warner Norcross + Judd’s Auto Industry Group and as well as leading Warner’s Autonomous and Connected Mobility subcommittee. Tom’s vast experience also includes automotive product liability and negligence trials as well as compliance with NHTSA regulations. In addition to handling numerous product cases, Tom focuses on commercial litigation in warranty, recall, and contract disputes. Although Tom’s practice is heavily concentrated in the automotive industry, he also counsels manufacturing, industrial and pharmaceutical organizations in supply chain and commission sales disputes. He is also the founder and chairman of MICHauto, Michigan’s automotive industry cluster association.

Thomas Manganello WNJ

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