Your connection to the University of Michigan-Dearborn | Spring 2019

Family Finds Its Stride

HR expert Linda Torakis empowers employees to build multimillion-dollar auto supply company

Linda Torakis (’93 B.G.S.) knows the value of a dollar.

It’s the amount she and her husband, Mike, initially paid for an auto supply company that was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2008.  Their investment is now a multimillion-dollar operation  and Torakis is currently serves as president of the Michigan-based company, McKechnie Vehicle Components (MVC).

Purchasing a company that manufactures decorative trim for cars might not have seemed like a wise investment in the late-2000s. But making MVC solvent within 90 days — to avoid a closure — was, as Torakis called it, the easy part.

The hard part? Getting employees to believe that better days were coming. After all, they’d been hit by the auto crisis, the recession and a string of short-term owners.

That’s where Torakis’  HR background came into play. She leaned on her 20-plus years of experience to help shift the leadership perception and culture. And as a newbie to the auto industry, she valued her employees’ experiences and set out to empower them in their roles.

“If people see that you are true to your word, over time trust will develop,” she said “We’ve been doing this for 11 years. With the trust built, we are more of a family now and we’re really hitting our stride.”

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