Kwabena “Q” Johnson is an automotive industry expert, consultant, innovator, and the president of both Plug Zen L.L.C. and Q Works L.L.C. With a keen mind for problem solving, Q is focused on developing new technologies, processes, and strategies for application within the automotive industry. He collaborates with original equipment manufacturers and automotive tier suppliers to pilot, launch, and fully implement these innovations and strategies. Q’s automotive career flourished at Ford Motor Company where from 1996 to 2007 he worked in the New Model Development Center as a Prototype Specialist and Lean Management Consultant. In this role, Q worked closely with engineers and vendors to develop new products and processes (incorporating Six Sigma for error proofing) to ensure future vehicle models were produced to the highest quality standards, employing the most efficient methods. Most of these vehicles were alternative fuel vehicles (i.e., hybrid electric, CNG, natural gas, etc.), which gave Q insight into the technologies that showed the most promise – electric vehicles (EV). In 2008, Q joined Detroit Electric, an electric car company, as Project Manager. He assisted senior management with developing flexible production processes, which enabled the company to build electric vehicles on multiple platforms in various production environments. Q was integral in helping Detroit Electric to identify key strategic partners and vendors that were critical to manufacturing. He also invested a significant amount of time creating strategies for technologies and processes he developed at Detroit Electric, such as 3D printing, modular build process, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. His entrepreneurial drive and insight propelled him to launch Q Works and go on to collaborate with other start-up companies, such as Walker-Miller Energy Consultants and Adopt-A-Watt. Prior to joining Ford Motor Company, Q was a Marine Officer Candidate and an alumnus of the University of Michigan Dearborn, Mechanical Automotive Engineering program. Q is an active member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and has worked with multiple teams to develop electric vehicle charging stations. As an entrepreneur, Q is committed to helping the emerging entrepreneur community and supports various non-profit organizations in Metropolitan Detroit. He is passionate about learning new things and driven by continuous improvement. 📷
Chenel Johnson serves as right hand to Plug Zen's executive management personnel in her role as Business Administrator. She is also an entrepreneur and specializes in providing business wrap-around services, leading marketing and proposal management efforts, and mentoring services to accelerate and expand small business enterprises improving their success to compete for and deliver public and private sector projects. With over 30 years of experience, Chenel has a diverse skillset acquired by fulfilling various roles throughout her career, including executive administrative, marketing associate, proposal management, project management, sales administrator, and supplier diversity professional while employed by large, global and U.S. brands in the automotive, architectural/engineering/construction, and healthcare market sectors.
Sylvester Hester brings the experience and knowledge of manufacturing and logistics in multiple business verticals: Automotive, Aerospace, and the government sector, just to name a few. Mr. Hester is Chairman of Global Automotive Alliance. GAA consists of six companies: ARD Logistics, Global SQ, Grupo Antolin Primera, Key Logistics, STM-LM, and Vitec. These two manufacturing, four logistics, and companies employ more than 2,300 people. GAA has earned a reputation for providing quality manufacturing and exceptional Supply Chain Management to aerospace, automotive, food & beverage, pharmaceutical and government business operations. His impressive career began in 1985, as an engineering technician for General Motors Advanced Engineering. In 1987, Hester joined Michigan’s Regal Plastics and he quickly moved up the ranks from engineering to program management, through sales and marketing, and finally rising to vice president in 1993. In 1998, Hester was selected to serve as president of GAA’s company, ARD, near Atlanta, Georgia. By 2003 he co-founded and was named president of GAA’s newest acquisition, Key Logistics. Today Hester is chairman of all GAA companies, and CEO of Grupo Antolin Primera. Most recently, Hester has been named as the president of GAA’s advisory board of directors, and he has been appointed to the Tuskegee University Board of Trustees. He is a member of the board of the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association, the Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Council and Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council as Chair of the MBEIC Manufacturing and Mobility sector. Hester holds a Master of Science in Administration degree, with concentration in leadership, from Central Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Science in Plastics Engineering with an emphasis in polymer chemistry from Ferris State University. He has completed the Advanced Minority Business Executive Program at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, the Kellogg School of Management Advanced Management Education Program at Northwestern University, and the Quantum Shift Program at The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
Gregory Jackson is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jackson Asset Management (JAM) parent company to several entities including the Detroit-based Prestige Automotive Group. Founded in 1993, the multimillion-dollar auto group has owned eighteen automotive dealerships and currently operates Mercedes-Benz of Saint Clair Shores, Michigan, Prestige Cadillac of Warren, Michigan and Prestige Auto Body. In addition to automotive interests, Jackson Asset Management consists of Wink Entertainment (Copper Ridge Golf Course and Banquet Center in Davison, Mich.); Jackson Land Holdings consisting of multi-unit apartment communities (Lafayette Towers in Downtown Detroit) and various commercial office building developments. Jackson’s other business interest includes co-ownership and a member of the Board of Directors of Body Blocks Inc., which operates two separate Chinese / American joint venture enterprises based in Beijing and Wuhu, China and OWN Capital; an investment group based in Newport California. Prestige Automotive Group has been listed on the Black Enterprise Magazine list of top black-owned companies consecutively for the last twenty-seven years. Jackson made history becoming the first African American to lead a dealership group to over $1 billion in annual sales in 2015. Prestige Automotive is one of only three African American owned companies to have ever achieved one billion dollars or more in annual sales. Jackson can be found in the Smithsonian’s Museum archives as a HISTORY MAKER. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Science from Morris Brown College, and an MBA from The Atlanta University Graduate School of Business and is a Certified Public Accountant. His commitment to service includes memberships with the National Automobile Dealers Association, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated and NAACP. Jackson has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University School of Business and is a sought-out speaker to numerous business and community groups. Jackson has received the elite Elijah McCoy Award and hundreds of others for his outstanding entrepreneurial, business, and philanthropic endeavors. Jackson’s advice to future business owners: “save your money, establish excellent credit, do your research and most importantly learn every aspect of the business.” Plan your work and work your plan. Gregory Jackson makes his home in Detroit, Michigan. During his leisure time, he enjoys playing golf, watching sports, and spending time with his family. Jackson is a member of Fellowship Chapel Church in Detroit.
Dexter is the founder and CEO of OpConnect, Inc., an electric vehicle charging solutions company based in Portland, Oregon. Dexter is a serial entrepreneur, having founded two previous companies in the aviation industry. His previous start-ups include a successful exit with a 68X return on the original investment. He holds a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering as well as an MBA, and has over 25 years of engineering, leadership, and business development experience. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dexterturner
Yvette is a high-energy HR/LR/ER professional experienced in the materials & supply chain services, technology, automotive manufacturer, commercial locomotive, automotive supplier, and aerospace industries. Yvette’s key experiences include HR Business Partner, supporting global operations, labor negotiations, and managing teams in the US and Canada. Yvette is driven for results, uniquely qualified to build relationships with all levels of the organization, effectively communicates, and appropriately responds to a wide range of employee issues and/or concerns. Yvette earned her BS in Industrial Administration and MBA, both while working full-time.
Carla Walker-Miller is the Founder and CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services (Walker-Miller), a 22-year- old values driven, B Corp certified company that changes lives through energy. Her high performing firm helps electric and gas utilities achieve mandated energy reduction goals that reduce energy waste, create local jobs, decrease energy burdens on families, and reduce harmful greenhouse gases. Carla started Walker-Miller in 2000 after an 18-year corporate career in technical sales, reinventing her company during the height of the recession, successfully pivoting from electrical transmission and distribution equipment sales to the rapidly growing energy efficiency industry.