Dave Tatman, former plant manager of the General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant, has joined WKU’s Center for Research and Development.
“I have long desired to work for WKU in some capacity,” Tatman said. “Serving as Associate Vice President for Advanced Manufacturing allows me to build on my skills and experiences in a way that benefits the university and the industry in our region and our state.”
Tatman, who retired from General Motors earlier this year after a 34-year career, was named the inaugural executive director of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association in July. This association was created in order to further foster the automotive industry in Kentucky – now third in terms of automotive manufacturing in the nation. He will continue in that position, and act as an interface between WKU and the association.
The new role will allow WKU to take advantage of Tatman’s background and expertise in automotive manufacturing, which has become a vital component of Kentucky’s economy, said Dr. Gordon C. Baylis, WKU’s Vice President of Research.
“Dave is a very talented leader and he wants to give back to education,” Dr. Baylis said. “WKU has been interested in economic development and in providing technical assistance for industry. And that’s what we’re doing through the Center for Research and Development and our applied research programs. We need people with real manufacturing experience to help us help industry.”
Dr. Baylis expects Tatman’s role to include assisting the Advantage Kentucky Alliance Manufacturing Extension Partnership (AKA MEP); opening doors for industry partners to work with WKU research centers; and building more connections between WKU and Southern Kentucky Community and Technical College.
Tatman is co-chair of the South Central Kentucky Motorsports Initiative – an area where WKU will continue to work with the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce on growing the region’s involvement in motorsports. The motorsports initiative is intended both as a high-tech economic driver to the region and also to stimulate interest in STEM education at WKU and SKYCTC.
“Dave has always been an integral part of the automotive industry and an important part of our community,” said Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce. “As Associate Vice President of Advanced Manufacturing at the WKU Center for Research and Development, Dave has the unique vision necessary to address our urgent need to fill 4,500 manufacturing positions by 2016. Dave understands the importance of advanced manufacturing to our economy, especially our growing motorsports sector. We applaud WKU President Gary Ransdell for his vision and commitment to South Central Kentucky and for his forethought in hiring an industry leader like Dave Tatman. We look forward to working with Dave and the Center for Research and Development.”
Tatman holds a Master of Business Administration, Corporate Policy from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science, Industrial and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.
He joined GM as a college graduate in training in 1980 and progressed through several locations and leadership positions in the U.S., Canada and South America. Responsibilities included direct operations supervision, supply chain management, quality, engineering, maintenance, prototype and advanced powertrain development work. Tatman became plant manager of the GM plant in Bowling Green in 2010.
WKU’s Center for Research and Development (2413 Nashville Road) will host the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce’s August Coffee Hour at 7 a.m. Thursday (Aug. 21).
Contact: Gordon Baylis, (270) 745-6733.