The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM Blog Series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st Century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on Social Media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Shafiq Anwar, Chief Information Officer at Michelin North America.
Chief Information Officer
Michelin North America
Throughout his extensive career, Shafiq has held a variety of assignments in both manufacturing and IS. He began his career in manufacturing with Procter & Gamble, holding a variety of assignments in plant maintenance management, production management, cost and quality control management. After ten years in manufacturing, he entered the information technology field, leading the development of a reliability improvement system to integrate maintenance management, storeroom and purchase order processes. Shafiq moved to Japan to lead the implementation of SAP in the thirteen Asian countries where P&G had business. After three years of successful implementation, he returned to the United States and managed P&G's Global Business Services for North America. He joined Michelin in 2007 and became the North America CIO in 2009. Shafiq holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering (BS) and Systems Engineering and Operations Research (MS).
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin (www.michelinman.com) designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy duty trucks, and motorcycles. The company also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Michelin is recognized as the leading innovator in the tire industry. The Michelin brand is the top selling tire brand worldwide. Worldwide sales for the Michelin Group were 22.2 billion euros in 2013. Sales in North America in 2013 were $10.3 billion. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs approximately 21,500 people and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Shafiq on Diversity and STEM
Why is STEM education/workforce development critical to the future of our nation?
Today’s business climate is one with rapid technology change, innovation and modernization. If our nation is to pioneer the next generation of innovation, it is critical that tomorrow’s workforce is prepared to take on the challenge and lead. Unfortunately, the challenge ahead cannot be won by courage alone, but rather it requires a thorough understanding of complex subjects throughout science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Without these skillsets, companies will be forced to seek them elsewhere, and consequently our nation will not reap the benefits of the innovation leadership it has enjoyed in years past.
How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?
In the 1970s when Michelin chose to establish its North American base in South Carolina, the company was attracted by the state’s technical school system and the strong, work-ready labor force it produced. Today, Michelin works closely with the state’s technical schools and other educational institutions to help them evolve and adapt to the future needs of manufacturers to enable South Carolina to remain competitive on a global scale. Michelin has also partnered with local technical colleges across the state of South Carolina to develop the Michelin Technical Scholars program, whereby students have the chance to co-op with Michelin in its facilities so they can experience the real world application of their studies. Michelin covers the cost of books and tuition, and the scholars are paid to work 20 hours a week with Michelin technicians. Upon successful completion of their education, Michelin Technical Scholars are often hired for a full-time position. The program has not only increased the number of future employees in the Michelin workforce pipeline, but has spread the word to young people and parents alike, that manufacturing jobs are available, pay well and can lead to even greater career opportunities.
What do we need in the US to continue to be at the top of global innovation?
1. Never forget what America does best. America is known throughout the world as a place where people move fast and take risks. These are critical parts of America’s entrepreneurial spirit and are critical components of competitive innovation.
2. Prevent further erosion of our technical edge. The reality is that the world is not waiting for America to innovate. The information age has enabled people throughout the world in a way which wasn’t possible before, by providing everyone with the latest technology and near limitless access to information and educational resources. To maintain this edge, America’s education system must become more competitive in all of the STEM subjects. In order to do so, we must see a strengthening of our focus on STEM at all levels of education, but particularly throughout our primary levels of education. In doing so, we will provide businesses in America with the skillsets needed for today and tomorrow.
How is your company connecting diversity initiatives with STEM initiatives? Is this a part of your comprehensive strategy?
Michelin’s employee resource groups such as the Upstate Women’s Network, the African American Network, the New Hire Network and others are charged with developing programs and starting the dialogue about how we, as an organization, can continue to improve ourselves. In November 2013, the Upstate STEM Collaborative was officially created, with Michelin serving as one of the main partners. The Upstate STEM Collaborative is collaboration between some of the Upstate of South Carolina’s biggest manufacturers, public school districts, Clemson and Furman universities and Greenville Tech. The Collaborative, which seeks to promote STEM education throughout the state, is the result of a luncheon hosted in November of 2011 by Michelin Challenge Education and the Michelin African American Network to start a dialog among various stakeholders about developing curriculum to prepare today's students for the workplace of tomorrow.
How do you translate your work into innovation?
In Information Technology, innovation and modernization is a daily part of my work life. Radical innovation in technology is a daily occurrence, and many times a year those innovations, in turn, transform the enterprise in a big way. At Michelin North America, we have a dedicated initiative toward technical innovation within IT, the steering committee of which I am the Chairman. Through this initiative, we have uncovered innovative technologies which are enabling new efficiencies, services and ways of working. In Information technology, there is no shortage of opportunities in innovation, but we are constrained in what resources we are able to allocate. But there is never a question of if we should innovate, but only where do we innovate.