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Lear Ungheni in Moldova Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

On February 1, Lear Ungheni in Moldova held a special event at Ungheni City Hall to commemorate its fifth anniversary; an estimated 1,500 team members were in attendance. Lear Plant Manager Marian Lefter introduced special guests from Lear, including Sven Damm, Vice President of Trim Operations for Europe & Africa, and Simona Neacsu, Human Resources Director of Eastern Europe, as well as local representatives, including Mayor Alexandru Ambros, Iurie Toma, Ungheni District Head and Natalia Iepuras, Free Economic Zone Administrator.

Sven gave an inspirational speech expressing appreciation of Lear Ungheni’s achievements and its team spirit. The local representatives joined in to express their recognition and gratitude to Lear for being one of the biggest area employers and contributors to the local budget. They also awarded the plant with a special certificate for its role in the region’s development.

Event attendees enjoyed lively speeches, refreshments and local music. At the conclusion, the plant marked the occasion by sponsoring an exceptional fireworks show for the community.

“This was a great occasion to thank all of our team members for their dedication and constant effort,” said Marian. “We were able to recount past accomplishments, such as contributing to Lear’s 2012 Daimler Supplier Award from Mercedes-Benz for the Interior for Procurement—Cars and Vans category, and to be inspired to progress to the next level.”

Lear Ungheni officially began its operations in Moldova on February 1, 2010, as a cut & sew plant. It currently employs approximately 1,700 team members, with status as the country’s fourth biggest exporter.

Ungheni supplies Lear facilities in Bremen, Germany; Tychy Poland; and Kolin, Czech Republic. Important achievements for the plant include the Daimler award and the successful 2013 launch of the new C-class. The plant and other locations in Europe, South Africa, China and the United States provide Daimler with the complete range of Lear seat content as well as final assembly.

Ungheni also produces seat covers for the Ford Mondeo, Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and Citroën C1. With a population of approximately 40,000, Ungheni is located between Chișinău, Moldova’s capital, and the Romanian border.

“This was a special moment to express appreciation and to receive the family spirit back from the team,” Sven added. “We’re moving forward in our commitment to excellence and I congratulate the team on its anniversary. We look forward to more success stories in the future.”


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Kettering University Students Gain Work Experience at Lear

Lear Corporation has enjoyed a long history with Flint, Michigan’s Kettering University.  Ray Scott, Executive Vice President and President of Seating, currently serves on Kettering’s board of trustees, and many Lear team members have studied at the school.

Kettering, previously known as General Motors Institute, offers cooperative work education and learning, while alternating with college courses. Its undergraduate students must complete a minimum of five co-op terms to graduate with degrees in engineering, math, science or business.

Kettering co-op students currently working at Lear include sophomore Devin Binelli (Mechanical Engineering), freshman Madeline Geffert (Business Administration), senior Jacob Kaarto (Industrial Engineering) and junior Nicky Patel (Electrical Engineering).

“During my time with Advanced Materials and Comfort Engineering, I am assisting my group with analyzing a combination of subjective, mechanical and geometric data to help improve the overall seat comfort, as we also conduct research and development to create related innovations,” said Binelli. “A key benefit in working with top industry professionals is the importance of learning how to interpret data properly by ascertaining information’s true importance and applicability.”

Having returned to the Global Product Marketing team after taking courses, Geffert explained, “Working as part of a truly collaborative and goal-oriented group has given me an opportunity to work with professionals who are always happy to guide me in the right direction and provide constructive advice.”

Seeing Lear’s community efforts has even further strengthened Geffert’s wish to contribute to causes that focus on improving the quality of education for children and young adults with cognitive disabilities. She has competed at the Collegiate DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) State Career Development Conference for emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. As a winner in “Emerging Technology Marketing Strategies, she will attend the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida, for further presentations among other college-age achievers.

“My mentors here require that I take ownership of projects and they hold me accountable for delivering positive results, while respecting and valuing my opinions,” stated Kaarto, who’s working on setting up a warehouse facility and helmet assembly process for Seating’s Advanced Manufacturing Engineering. “Their support has shown me that working as a team is the key to being successful. I am fortunate to work with a group of professionals that have provided me with challenging tasks, starting on my first day here at Lear. ”

Nicky Patel works on the Ford Escape wiring team and helps in the design and validation for the 2017 Ford Escape wire harnesses. “Working as a co-op at Lear has been the most rewarding experience of my college career,” Patel said.  “At Lear I am able to learn about things I would never learn in a classroom. The opportunity Lear provides by rotating its students through different groups is what I enjoy most. I have been a co-op at other companies but Lear has been the most welcoming and professional group.”

In contributing to “real world” projects, and working with experienced Lear team members, our Kettering co-op students observe the larger framework of teamwork and overall open communication in every department and job function.


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Lear-STEC in Shanghai Wins Four Awards

Lear-STEC in Shanghai received four awards for its wire harness work in 2014—three from Shanghai General Motors (SGM) and one from the SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation). The plant is a joint venture of Lear and STEC, a subsidiary of SAIC.

“I’m really pleased about the customer recognitions that Lear-STEC has received thanks to outstanding performance during 2014,” said Arturo Alvarez, VP of Electrical Operations in Asia. “I would like to congratulate the STEC team, led by our General Manager, Fang Dan, on its great job.”

The SGM awards include the Green Supply Chain Award for lean manufacturing and Value Stream Mapping activity; the Quality System Basics Outstanding Process Award for continuous quality improvement; and an award for 100% on-time delivery for the year from SGM’s Yantai plant. SAIC awarded Lear-STEC its Outstanding Quality Performance Award for being one of its best suppliers.

“This is the first time the plant has received a quality award from SGM, which has very high quality requirements,” added Hyo C. Kim, general manager. “An award is a significant achievement and to receive four illustrates the hard work and dedication of the team.”

With more than 2,500 team members, Lear-STEC began operations in 2003 and produces wire harnesses for SGM, SAIC, Volkswagen and Qoros. General Motors accounts for approximately 45% of its sales, with SAIC sales providing about 12% of its total. SAIC is the largest Chinese OEM by volume, having produced 4.5 million vehicles in 2014. SGM is General Motor’s largest joint venture (out of ten) in China, with the company’s total sales of all products sold under the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Baojun, Wuling and Jiefang nameplates totaling 3.5 million units.


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Lear Southfield Team Wins Weight Loss Challenge Award

Congratulations to our Lear Southfield team members for being awarded first place in the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Michigan “Win by Losing Weight Loss Challenge” in the “30–59 Participating” category!

Our own Christina Rangel, Manager of Health & Welfare Plan Administration, welcomed BCBS Account Manager Karen Parenteau, who praised the team for achieving the highest result in its group. Parenteau presented the award to Lori Hemingway, Senior IT Specialist, who accepted on Lear’s behalf.

“Lori has been coordinating weight loss challenges on the Southfield campus for the past several years, way before the BCBS ‘Win by Losing Challenge,’” said Rangel. “None of this would have been possible without her support and dedication.”

Hemingway explained, “This award is really a group effort, with every participant contributing to our weight loss total of nearly 300 pounds. Part of what is great about working at Lear is looking at things that add to work-life balance and being healthier is a key part.”

In addition to Hemingway and Rangel, Southfield team participants included: Ashley Baisch, Rhonda Bassett-Siegel, Jennifer Bernardelli, Rod Bradley, Sarah Braun, Katie Clark, Greg Fraley, John Gilbert, Gary Hammond, Pam Harris, Jeffrey Harton, Penny Harton, Christopher Johnson, Mark Karges, Tracie Kelp, Michael King, Patricia Kus, Kevin Lalonde, Jill Lohr, Dave McNulty, Susan Milana, Kerry Mitchell, Beth Moore, Robert Murri, Sashanka Nukala, Jennifer O’Dowd, Thom Polera, Jason Pringle, Suzanne Robison, Raylene Russell, Inshad Saad, Jeff Schiefer, Bill Schoewe, Rajesh Sivakumar, Bill Webster and David Zarzycki.

Please visit www.bcbsm.com/yourhealth to learn more about the challenge and to see the full list of winners. The website also offers a helpful online tool kit, complete with exercise and diet tips, more than 40 healthy recipes, videos on health and wellness and other resources for anyone interested in achieving a healthier lifestyle.


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Lear Poland Wins Employer Award, Launches Innovative HR Efforts

Lear Poland was proud to accept AutomotiveSuppliers.pl’s Polish Automotive Industry Award in the Employer category during the MotoSolutions Forum this past November.

AutomotiveSuppliers.pl organizes the annual event, which is highly regarded by the nation’s automotive sector. Since 2010, the Forum has invited OEM and supplier senior and mid-level manufacturing plant managers to participate. The attendees spend two days listening to presentations and networking, with special guest speakers discussing the most effective strategies and practices in use.

Malgorzata Zborowska-Stęplewska, partner at AutomotiveSuppliers.pl, explained that award was granted based on significant improvements carried out since the 2008 economic crisis. Since that time, Lear Poland has expanded production and its customer portfolio as well as increased the number of manufacturing plants. This growth resulted in Lear Poland’s seven sites (five plants and two R&D centers) employing the most people in the country’s automotive industry among suppliers.

Lear has also begun working with local universities in southwestern Poland’s Upper Silesia region, including Politechnika Śląska (Silesian University of Technology), Uniwersytet Śląski (University of Silesia in Katowice) and Uniwersytet Ekonomiczna w Katowicach (University of Economics in Katowice).

“This ‘Practical Start’ program is an initiative of our Tychy trim managers and is one of our ideas to further become an Employer of Choice by cooperating with the universities to support students in their first steps in the job market,” said Monika Krzysztofik, HR country manager. “During six days of workshops in the areas of production, quality, maintenance, health and safety, logistics, IT, CI, engineering and new launches, 53 students from these universities applied for internship positions to be filled.”

This approach presents students with “a flavor” of Lear’s business, shows our environment and supports them in choosing an optimal direction for their educational and professional development.

“We educate these young people with facts, such as Lear is the biggest employer in the automotive industry in Poland, and there are internships and job opportunities for those with the right qualifications and team spirit,” Monika explained. “We also provide more information on the five Lear plants and R&D centers in Poland.”

This builds upon an ongoing joint community program called “Kariera na Start” (Career to Start), in which Lear interns collaborate in an effort to raise awareness of opportunities. Through this program, we demonstrate Lear as a socially responsible company that hires young and dynamic people whose jobs are beneficial for our business and region. Ten of our interns from this project have been offered positions with Lear since 2013, and we currently have five intern positions open.

Lear intern Beata Brząkała recently collaborated in a promotional video to raise awareness of our Kariera na Start campaign (view below or click here).


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