On Sunday evening, January 8, 2012, at the Sound Board Theatre in the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit, Michigan, the 16thAnnual Urban Wheel Awards honored both companies and individuals for advancing diversity in the automobile industry. The Urban Wheel Awards were developed to recognize and honor diversity in the automotive industry and the awards ceremony were co-hosted by celebrities Phylicia Rashad and Jon Quinones.
Proceeds from the event support the Emerging Diversity Education Fund, which provides internships, scholarships and mentoring to students pursuing careers in the auto industry, communications and Green jobs.
While there were over 30 individual and companies honored for their diversity in the automobile industry, a few awardees stood out for special recognition. As the first African-American to serve as this year’s chair of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Bill Perkins received the Pioneer Award for 40 years of pursuing diversity in the automobile industry from both the manufacturing side with GM and the retail side as a Chevrolet dealer. Bill is President/ CEO of The Bill Perkins Automotive Group and owns Merollis Chevrolet in Eastpointe and Taylor Chevrolet in Taylor. He will be instrumental in making this year’s NAIAS a success and an event to remember.
Receiving this year’s Urban Wheels Lifetime Achievement Award was Warren Brown, automotive journalist with the Washington Post. Considered the “dean” of African-American automotive journalists, Mr. Brown has been covering the automobile industry since 1982. Brown’s unique style of writing not only advises on the good and bad points of cars, but how that particular vehicle will integrate into your life. In Brown’s world of cars, they are integral components to modern existence, not just accessories or modes of transportation.
The event also honored local suppliers like David Segura, Hispanic Supplier of the Year. Mr. Segura started VisionIT 15 years ago and has home grown the company right here in Detroit. Being headquartered in Detroit helped VisionIT develop one of the most impressive client bases in the automotive industry over its history by growing a solid reputation for delivery. VisionIT works with virtually all of the top OEM’s and Tier 1 providers as one of their primary IT suppliers.
The Toyota Prius Plug-In was honored as the Urban Green Vehicle of the Year. As the world’s favorite hybrid with the ability to operate on pure electric power for extensive distances and recharge itself from an AC outlet has cast an exceptional urban green car into an ideal urban green car. It is now possible to power around a city in this electric vehicle for an extended distance without consuming any gasoline during that time in the city. That my friends, is revolutionary!
As in past years, the only Official Multicultural Event of the NAIAS held its kickoff “Automotive Oscars” and brought together celebrities, automobile executives, international media, government representatives, and the multicultural community to celebrate diversity accomplishments in the automotive industry. The event, successfully held for a successive 16th year, ended with an afterglow and networking opportunity at the Sound Board Theatre.
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Author: Robert E. Mattler, Green Agent Man, representing GreeningDetroit.com
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