DENNIS WEND:
 




 
 
 
 
 
Director of the National Automotive Center and executive director of technology transfer at the United States Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, located at the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren. In this role, Wend initiates and develops collaborative dual use technology programs that involve the U.S. military, industry, and/or academia working together. He has leveraged emerging automotive technologies to improve U.S. military ground vehicle systems and to reduce the cost of vehicle ownership. Wend began his government career in 1979. He has received many honors and awards, including the Secretary of the Army competition in contracting award, the AMC commanderís medal, federal manager of the year, and the Secretary of Transportation award for the first transportation science and technology strategy. Wendís education includes a masterís degree from Central Michigan University and a bachelorís degree from the Detroit Institute of Technology. He is also a graduate of the Department of Defense System Management College and is a member of the Senior Executive Association, the National Contract Management Association, the American Defense Preparedness Association, and the Association of the United States Army.


WHERE BORN: "Detroit. I grew up on the east side."

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: "First, my dad and mom. They said you can do and be anything you want with an education. They werenít able to get much of one themselves, but I have to thank them for pushing me toward an education. Also, Sen. Carl Levin was very instrumental in showing a vision in creating the national automotive center, which I head. Every time he sees me, he always challenges me by saying, ĎIs that all youíre doing?í He connected us with Focus: HOPE for mobile repair parts. It was just an idea he had a couple of years ago."

LAST BOOK READ: "The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Iím also a bathroom junkie of Popular Mechanics."

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: "Innovator, rebel, non-bureaucratic government official, risk-taker, and on the other side, team-builder, leader and No. 1 supporter of technologies for our troops."

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: "Working with the Army and Defense Department leads us into interesting situations with the war on terrorism. With that comes a great need for new technologies. We see a lot of technologies that can overflow into the hands of people right here in Metro Detroit. One is a handheld water quality device. Others, such as individual mobility platforms and electric vehicles in our Metropark systems, and pretty soon weíre going to put some hybrids in. Even if youíre not the happiest camper on defense issues or a supporter, the technology strides weíve made are things people can use Ėfor example, SUVs and the Internet. More things like that can come about and more relationships can be built with industries to leverage those capabilities. Iím sad to say, defense is a booming industry right now."

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: "Hands down, a Blackberry. Iíve tried every device you can use and nothing can take the abuse of falling 20 feet and still function well enough for me to be able to enter my email."

FAVORITE PLACE: "Right now, living on the St. Clair River. Itís definitely a haven that few have found right here in Michigan."

FAVORITE HOBBIES: "I've always had a passion for music but found out early in life that I wasnít going to be a rock star. After doing hundreds of weddings to pay my way through college, I found that working on an assembly line and playing music wasnít going to cut it. Now I tinker around with music technologies."

FAVORITE FOOD: "Being Midwest born and raised, it has to be steak and potatoes."

MY HIDDEN TALENT: "I would have to say itís the ability to bring people together with differing views and helping create a unified effort."

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: "Making a difference in helping people to be someone or something they feel confident about. We have too many people who have great talents who we donít appreciate. I want to help those people to bring out their talents, whether it is in technology or art or the way they can cook."

At the annual awards reception in May 2015, one Leader & Innovator from the previous 12 months will be selected as the Leader & Innovator of the Year.