PHONE: (313) 593-5518
DATE: March 30, 2005
Chrysler exec, labor leader to speak at UM-Dearborn commencement ceremonies May 1
DEARBORN---Chrysler executive vice president for product development
Eric Ridenour and Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan State AFL-CIO,
will be the featured speakers at commencement ceremonies at the University
of Michigan-Dearborn on May 1.
Ridenour will speak in the morning ceremony, which begins at 10:30 a.m.,
for graduates of the campus's School of Management and College of Engineering
and Computer Science. Gaffney will speak in the afternoon ceremony, which
begins at 2:30 p.m., for graduates of the School of Education and College
of Arts, Sciences, and Letters. Both ceremonies will be held in the Fieldhouse
on the UM-Dearborn campus.
"These speakers represent two of the great enterprises that have
made southeastern Michigan so prosperous over the decades, and their leadership
will be instrumental in continuing our region's success in the future,"
according to UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little. "Our graduates
have always reflected the same commitment to the social and economic development
of the metropolitan area, and these speakers provide an excellent example
and model for all of us."
Ridenour, a Detroit native who received his bachelor's degree in mechanical
engineering from UM-Dearborn in 1980, has been responsible for all Chrysler
passenger car, sport utility vehicle and truck product teams since assuming
his current position early in 2003. A member of the Chrysler executive
committee, Ridenour also leads Chrysler's advanced engineering, powertrain
and product strategy teams.
After receiving his bachelor's degree, Ridenour worked in engineering
at General Motors and went on to earn an MBA from the Michigan Business
School in 1986. He joined Chrysler that year and has risen through the
ranks as senior program planner, vice president for product planning and
vice president of the premium vehicle product team.
Gaffney was elected president of the Michigan State AFL-CIO in 1999,
after working in various leadership positions for the Teamsters Joint
Council in Detroit. The labor federation represents almost 700,000 workers
in 50 affiliated unions. Gaffney earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan
State University in 1982 and a master's degree in labor and industrial
relations from MSU in 1984.
He has been a leader in developing greater levels of cooperation and
collaboration among labor and management groups across the state and is
involved in efforts to raise national public awareness of the positive
state of labor relations in Michigan. He also serves on the board of a
number of civic groups and public agencies, including the United Way of
Michigan, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, and the Federal Reserve
Bank, Chicago Region.