WMU News

How Toyota has been Americanized

Oct. 5, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- "The Americanization of Toyota" will be the topic when the head of the Toyota Technical Center, U.S.A., speaks at Western Michigan University later this month.

Bruce Brownlee, general manager for corporate planning and external affairs at the Toyota Technical Center, USA, will talk at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, in Room 2000 of Schneider Hall. An informal reception will follow his presentation, which is part of WMU's Japanese Business Speaker Series. Brownlee's talk is free and open to the public.

Brownlee has been with the Toyota Technical Center for almost a decade. Since 1999, he has managed the TTC's corporate and strategic planning activities as well as overseeing its external affairs activities. Prior to that, he was the general manager of the TTC's Administration Department, with responsibility for a variety of administrative departments.

Before joining the Toyota staff, Brownlee served as executive vice president of Sagawa Investments; vice president of international business at the Staubach Company; and the national major accounts manager for WANG Laboratories in Tokyo. He earned his bachelor's degree in political science and international relations from the University of California-Los Angeles.

The Toyota Technical Center is a U.S. corporation that is 80 percent owned by the Toyota Motor Corp. It has facilities in Arizona and California in addition to its North American headquarters located on more than 100 acres in Ann Arbor, Mich. The TTC engages in engineering design; prototype building; and vehicle, part, and materials evaluation and design. The center's 476 employees also handle regulatory affairs and emission certifications and engage in technical research. In the past five years, the TTC has launched two new vehicles--the Avalon in 1999 and the Camry Sedan in 2001.

The Japanese Business Speaker Series is one of seven key elements of Focus Japan, a WMU project funded by a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Chaired by Dr. F. William McCarty, professor of finance and commercial law in the Haworth College of Business, and Dr. Hideko Abe, assistant professor of Asian and Middle Eastern languages, Focus Japan aims to strengthen the University's study of Japan's language, culture and business environment.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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