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Guest Commentary: ‘The Long View’ By MEMA President And CEO Bill Long

“We need to be focused on the evolution – or maybe even the revolution – of technology, market forces, consumer attitudes, business practices, workforces, and the many external pressures and shifts that are coming our way,” writes MEMA CEO Bill Long.

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MEMA’s Bill Long speaks at the association’s Legislative Summit this this past May Washington, DC.

Since taking the helm of MEMA in February, I have traveled the country – and much of the globe – listening to our members and refining our strategy on how to best lead our industry into the next decade. As we face unique challenges and opportunities, our mandate has never been clearer.

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Of course, MEMA will be, as it has been for 115 years, at the forefront of advancing the business interests of the mobility industry and our members.

But we will also be the champion of new vehicle and safety technologies, remanufacturing and sustainability, the growth and vitality of the heavy-duty commercial and off-highway industry, and an empowered aftermarket able to adapt to dramatic shifts in technology and consumer behavior. MEMA and its divisions will serve as the strong, collective voice of the largest sector of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. But, as I see it, we will also serve as a source for purpose and success. Your success. This is our ultimate goal.

What are CEOs and leaders in our field telling me is important? Solutions, connectivity, enabling autonomous and electrified vehicles, safety, cyber security, multi-model and ride sharing technologies, disruptive technologies, leadership, and global growth. Ours is a sophisticated and complex global industry that will change the world. This is not an understatement. It is you, motor vehicle suppliers, who will allow us to reduce traffic deaths, reduce emissions, change the way we move from one place to another, and revolutionize how the world sees and uses mobility.

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While managing our day-to-day business and all the current and future challenges associated with that, we need to be looking to the next opportunities. We need to be focused on the evolution – or maybe even the revolution – of technology, market forces, consumer attitudes, business practices, workforces, and the many external pressures and shifts that are coming our way.

No one can single-handedly master it all. In fact, going it alone would be foolish. That is why MEMA is here.

We are an industry prepared to realize our full potential. Yet we are facing some significant headwinds, whether it’s the 232, 301 or steel and aluminum tariffs, fuel efficiency targets, access to vehicle data enabling motorist freedom of choice, or a growing number of state and regulatory issues. Thanks to MEMA’s diligence in Washington, legislators and policymakers know that parts manufacturers are a relevant enabler of new vehicle technology who are seeking policies that bolster U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in both domestic and global markets. MEMA has worked hard to gain top-of-mind awareness as a respected and trusted organization, representing a significant powerhouse of jobs and a meaningful impact on the U.S. economy. The change we are witnessing in Washington is also being played out locally and internationally. We see states taking the initiative to impose new regulatory requirements, and our traditional economic allies are struggling with their own internal and external political challenges. 

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These further underscore the importance of vigilance and a strong presence locally and globally, as well as in Washington.  MEMA is there at every step.

Our industry is built upon change and our ability to adapt. It defines us. It is at the core of our resilience, ingenuity, and our vision.

As is so often the case, suppliers were already leading the way to this vision. Together, we can accomplish this and more.

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