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Movers & Shakers: Ford Hires John Dion as Chief Transformation Officer

John Dion
John Dion

Ford has chosen John Dion to join the company as chief transformation officer, effective April 3, reporting to Ford CEO Jim Farley. Dion will oversee global deployment of methodologies and tools based on lean manufacturing and related concepts, capabilities that are central to realizing the value-creation and growth potential of the company’s Ford+ plan.

Dion has extensive background in successful large-company implementations of lean systems and teaching those approaches to others. He’s held management and P&L positions in disciplines spanning research and development, operations, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and business acquisitions and integrations.

Dion comes from ESAB Corp., a Maryland-based company involved in fabrication and specialty gas-control technology, where he most recently was vice president, business excellence. ESAB has roots that reach back to Sweden nearly 120 years ago, but was spun off in 2022 as an independent, publicly traded company. Dion led its industrial and cultural remaking.

He was with Danaher Corp. for 24 years until 2021, holding progressive leadership roles at six of its operating companies and Danaher Life Sciences. Dion led the integrations and transitions of several Danaher acquisitions, including the two largest: the $13 billion purchase of Pall Corp. and $21 billion acquisition of GE BioPharma, subsequently renamed Cytiva.

In those and other positions, Dion directed application of kaizen-based, lean manufacturing and transactional systems that prioritized exceptional people and plans and repeatable processes, leading to superior execution and performance.

Meyer Distributing Announces Hanover, Maryland Location

Meyer Distributing Inc. has announced the addition of its Hanover, Maryland, crossdock. The crossdock will have a direct feed from Meyer’s Pennsylvania distribution hub, which houses one of the largest inventories of automotive accessories, crash parts, and RV parts in the region.

“We are investing heavily in the Northeast as our focal point for 2023,” stated Jeff Braun, Meyer CEO. “We have increased our Northeast warehousing footprint from 180,000 to 425,000 sq. ft. in the past four months with plans to add substantially more soon. We will be opening a host of new sites to significantly improve delivery service, and we’re looking forward to getting all these improvements in place and settled in.”

Meyer Distributing has numerous strategically positioned warehousing facilities and serves thousands of customers nationwide via Meyer Logistics direct ship.

New Heise Connect App Goes Live for Smart Devices

Heise LED by Metra Electronics has designed an all-new Heise Connect app that is now available for download on smartphones and tablets. The app allows users to remotely control Heise LED automotive lighting accessories from the palm of their hand. This app works cohesively with all Heise LED lighting, which will now be known as the Heise Connect Universe (HCU) of products. An intuitive user interface automatically connects via Bluetooth and detects the type of control box connected to the app; RGB, RGBW or Chasing. Groups of all products can be used and controlled within the same mobile app, including three new Heise Connect controllers that debuted at the SEMA Show: the HE-RGB-CB, HE-RGBW-CB and HE-CHASE-CB.

App features include a selectable color wheel, which lets users choose from 16 million RGB color options, and a true white light color option is available with RGBW products. Users can also select from 24 pre-programmed patterns for RGB and RGBW and 170+ pre-programmed moving patterns for Chasing. A DIY pattern option can be chosen for Chasing products that allows for selecting up to 16 colors and three motion effects. The app also features independent left and right turn signal triggers, a brake trigger and a music sync function.

More information about the Heise Connect app and the Heise Connect Universe is available at

Universal Technical Institute Announces Purchase of Primary Buildings at Orlando Campus

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has announced the purchase of the three buildings it fully occupies at its Orlando, Florida, campus, which offers technician training programs in automotive, diesel, motorcycle and marine. In February 2022, UTI completed the consolidation of its UTI-Orlando and MMI-Orlando campuses into the current location, which includes the three buildings being purchased and subleased space in a fourth building.

The purchase of the buildings, which total 154,300 sq. ft., as well as the 20 acres of associated land, was sold for $26 million and will be funded from cash on hand, which includes funds from the company's November 2022 revolving credit facility draw. The expected annual adjusted EBITDA benefit is approximately $2 million and after-tax cash savings are approximately $500 thousand.

The campus, which opened in 2004, has more than 1,300 students currently and offers the company’s core automotive and diesel programs, along with the motorcycle and marine technician training programs with Harley-Davidson, BMW, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Mercury Marine and Volvo. The campus also has several auto and diesel Manufacturer Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) programs, including Ford, BMW and Daimler Trucks.

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