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Tom Martin talked with Dave Tatman, executive director of the Kentucky Auto Industry Association. Tatman completed 34 years with GM as plant manager for the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green. He also is an associate vice president for advanced manufacturing at Western Kentucky University and co-author of the book on leadership, Building Cathedrals: The Power of Purpose. Dave and his team are preparing for AutoVision, the association’s annual conference coming to the Lexington Center Sept. 12 and 13.

Q: Give us a sense of the size and the scale of the auto industry in Kentucky.

A: Kentucky is the third largest state in the country with respect to automotive production, surpassed only by Michigan and Ohio in total vehicles produced per year. There are about 490 automotive manufacturing firms and related manufacturing sites around the state producing cars and trucks and parts for cars and trucks all over the world.

Q: Tell us about the AutoVision Conference.

A: One of the goals when we formed the association was to create a common venue annually where automotive insiders from all across the state, nation and around the world could get a glimpse into what the future of the automotive industry looks like both here in Kentucky and globally. So, we branded the conference AutoVision. Our first one last year in Louisville was sold out.

Q: And how is it looking this year?

A: We’re going to do it at the Lexington Center this year. We’re very excited about that because the Lexington Center offers us some additional opportunities for exhibitors and product displays, which is a big deal. And we are looking to sellout this conference this year as well.

Read more: Third-largest auto-producing state in the country? It’s Kentucky

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