Heralded as a “Global Giant” in the soon-to-be-released book, “DRIVEN: A Tribute to African American Achievement in the Automotive Industry,” Kevin W. Williams is featured as one of the most influential people in the automotive industry.
He is president and managing director of General Motors of Canada, Limited — the first African American to hold the position — and is responsible for overseeing one of the company’s largest automotive markets in the world.
Williams’ story and many others like it will be highlighted within this first-of-its-kind publication, 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.
In the 27 years that Williams has worked at General Motors, he has held high-profile management and executive positions in the United States, Canada, Mexico and throughout Europe. Prior to his most recent position in Canada, he worked in the US as GM’s vice president and general manager of service parts operations for North America. In 2006, Williams became the first African American to serve as president and managing director of GM de Mexico — another first.
The youngest of 12 children, Williams learned to be competitive early.
“My parents instilled in all of their children the importance of hard work and commitment, which ultimately determines one’s success in life,” said Williams. “They were masters at pushing us to be independent and take responsibility for our lives.”
Williams has served as the director of Automotive Youth Educational Systems, chairman of the Black United Fund of Michigan Funding Board, and past chairman of GM’s African Ancestry Network.
In September 2010 he received the Trailblazer Award at the Global Automotive Summit in Detroit, which was presented by Rev. Jessie Jackson and the Rainbow/ PUSH Coalition.
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 at 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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