Fletcher emphasizes importance of auto industry

Shawntaye Hopkins

Business leaders from around the world gathered in Bowling Green this week to learn how to drive their companies to the next level of competitiveness.

And the leader of Kentucky re-emphasized the role of automobiles in the Bluegrass in the hometown of one of the world’s most popular sports cars.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher spoke Tuesday about the future of the automobile industry at a luncheon in the Sloan Convention Center held during the annual Global Automotive Conference.

The conference is sponsored by Western’s Office of Global Business. The four-day program, titled “Driving the New Business Model – Where Will Your Business be in Five Years,” ended Tuesday.

“The automobile industry is important to Kentucky, no question,” Fletcher said during the luncheon.

Fletcher said his goal is to make Kentucky more competitive in the auto industry, but the state has already been successful. He said the Corvette is the best value sports car in the world.

Technology training at Kentucky’s colleges and universities is important to increase productivity, Fletcher said. Schools need to work closely with the industries to provide an adequate work force.

Fletcher also stressed the importance of global competitiveness for a global economy, something that was not discussed 20 years ago.

William Parsons, chair of the conference and director of the Office of Global Business, said the governor’s message was extremely helpful in expressing positive changes in the automobile industry.

The professional development conference targets senior and middle management within the automobile industry, Parsons said

But the program is not restricted to people in that industry, he said.

The automobile industry typically leads the way in topics discussed at the conference, such as leading edge technology and management skills. But they can be applied to any industry.

Ian Browde, the director of strategy and business development for Nokia Enterprise Solutions, also spoke at the luncheon.

Browde discussed the importance of building relationships in business.

The Office of Global Business in the Gordon Ford College of Business was created in 1999. It provides information on things such as internships, consulting opportunities and jobs.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]