COOKEVILLE – Tennessee Tech University has joined Nissan North America to discuss partnership opportunities at a recent collaboration workshop in Smyrna to help build and keep the automotive industry moving forward.
“Tech has been a great partner for a supplier of talent to help build that facility (Nissan Smyrna
Assembly Plant) to what it has become over the last 40 years,” Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management at Nissan and Tennessee Tech alumnus David Johnson said.
At the Nissan Smyrna plant, there are more Tech graduates than any other university. The plant currently has 245 employees that attended Tech, with 187 of those receiving degrees. Seventy-four percent of those were engineering degrees, with 54% in mechanical engineering.
“The automotive industry is not just engineering,” Johnson said. “There is a business and marketing aspect that comes to it. We make a great product, but someone has to sell them.”
As a part of the collaboration workshop, deans from the colleges of education, business and engineering meet with Nissan leaders and workers to discuss opportunities in their respective areas. Topics on business analytics and operation management, preparing future workforce and occupational pathways programs and engineering and Nissan partnered projects were discussed.
“We are in the people business just like you are. I like to say that higher education at a university is a unique business. The customer and the product are the same things. The student is our customer at the front, but they are the institution’s product when they walk out the door,” Tech President Phil Oldham said. “It is important that we do both of those very well. To take care of them as customers but help them develop into the product that makes your businesses thrive. We are proud of that and the creativity and tenacity while the students attend Tennessee Tech, and we want to continue to make that happen. With your help, we can!”