LIMA — Over the nearly 10 years the city has been a member of the Center for Automotive Research, the expertise has been of value to the community many times.
The Lima Auto Task Force is hoping to share the center’s knowledge with a larger base and do some matchmaking along the way. The group decided Tuesday to begin hosting quarterly conference sessions with CAR officials, and inviting regional automotive suppliers to that session.
The task force plans to hold an inaugural session this fall, most likely late September, and do that first meeting in person, said Mayor David Berger, who is chairman of the group. The task force is compiling a list of automotive manufacturers and suppliers in a nine-county area to hear from a CAR speaker. Other sessions with CAR would then take place through a conference call.
Officials and researchers from CAR have spoken in the region previously, including as recently as the Wapakoneta Area Development Group’s annual meeting earlier this year.
The group has discussed how to reach out to suppliers and manufacturers and provide something of value that is worth their time.
“Here we have this expert information. Let’s push it out and share it,” Berger said.
CAR is interested in sharing its information with businesses and communities, all potential paying members of the organization.
“It’s a two-way street,” said Kim Hill, director of Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies for CAR. “It’s of value for us to see and hear what’s going on in communities, and enhance our value in that process. … The program is only as good as the opportunity to engage with the people who are in it.”
Allen County Commissioner Cory Noonan wants to use the event for companies to network each other, to see if they can grow their businesses by meeting each other and finding ways to collaborate.
Also at the task force meeting Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. Lima Engine Plant Manager Mike Felix gave an update on the new engine line under construction. Some current employees at the plant are already bidding on jobs and moving over to the new line. The new line will be producing engines by next summer.