At the National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) 45th Annual Convention held in Detroit, General Motors’ Arvin Jones received the 2019 NSBE Lifetime Achievement in Industry Award. The manufacturing executive director for Propulsion Systems and Casting Operations was able to retire from GM after 42 years of dedicated service.
During his time at the company, Jones has held a diverse array of work experiences that include industrial engineering, assistant plant manager at several locations, manufacturing manager, executive director; an interestingly enough, sales marketing and strategic planning. His first international assignment started in England for three years as a director of vehicle assembly with approximately 9,000 people under his control.
“I want to be known as a person who knew when to lead and when to be led. I want to be known as one that continually tried to learn, and I want to be known as someone who listened and had a passion for the business,” Jones stated while reflecting upon his legacy.
So what position was he drawn to the most? “The most interesting position I had was in sales marketing and strategic planning. It gave me a different view of the company. It allowed me to grow and to learn new things and to certainly become more competitive. It was hard work, but I appreciated doing it,” stated Jones.
Throughout his career, he was able to balance his many endeavors with his family life. “In my personal life, my happiest moments were my marriage and the birth of my two sons. Professionally, my proudest accomplishment was my transition from classified employee to an executive in 1990,” continued Jones.
Under Jones’ leadership, GM has extended more than 180 job opportunities to NSBE students, with a significant majority choosing to join GM.
His commitment to people remains strong long after they start at GM. Jones has personally mentored 32 young professionals at GM. “Arvin’s mentoring group is welcoming to newcomers and known to be a forum of real talk for seekers of truth. He challenges his group to read, share, listen and give back to others. His efforts enrich mentees and help retain them within the automotive industry,” stated mentee Talona Jackson.
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