The Blaker File
President and CEO
Born: Royal Oak, Mich.
What’s special to you about Detroit?
It’s the Motor City. There’s a vibrant history that surrounds the whole automotive industry here in Michigan. We really got kicked in the teeth in 2008. To see the way people are working together and have banded together to support the city, support the state, it’s just the kind of people we are.
That’s what keeps us here and keeps our global headquarters here. It’s just that can-do attitude that you don’t see everywhere else. We’re going to go out and conquer the world and we will. That type of attitude is what launched the automotive industry here in Michigan way back with Henry Ford. It’s that vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that’s here that I don’t necessarily see everywhere else.
How did your father, who founded the company you now lead, influence you?
He made me learn the business from the ground floor up. For that, I’m so thankful. While I had taken over part of the business, I wasn’t running all of it at the time. When he died, all of that changed.
Because he had been such a tough boss, I was better able to step up and assume the reins of running the organization. If he hadn’t been so tough on me, I wouldn’t have been quite so ready.
He wasn’t afraid to step away from corporate life and take a chance. He was a real pioneer and an entrepreneurial guy and always wanted to have his own business. I think I got that from him. I’m not afraid to try anything. If I look at the situation and it looks like a good risk, I’m not afraid to move forward. He gave me that gift.