Ford Motor Co. Manufacturing Guru to Speak at Smith Lecture Aug. 29

John Fleming Will Explore Future
of Manufacturing at Free Event

MELBOURNE, FLA. — John Fleming, whose 48-year career at Ford Motor Company in Europe and the United States granted him unique insight into the evolution of manufacturing, will speak Aug. 29 at Florida Institute of Technology’s F. Alan Smith Distinguished Lecture Series.

Starting at 11 a.m., Fleming, a native of Liverpool, England, who joined Ford in 1967, will speak on “The Future of Manufacturing.” He will explore advanced manufacturing and delve into key areas, such as what manufacturing will look like in the future and the global impact of Smart Manufacturing and the Industrial Internet of Things.

What skills will people, including students and those already in the manufacturing sector, need in the future to work in advanced manufacturing? Fleming will tackle that topic, too.

The hour-long event at the Hartley Room on the second floor of Florida Tech’s Denius Student Center is open to the general public. Admission is free, but pre-registration is required.

Born in 1951, Fleming joined Ford Motor Co. as an apprentice in 1967 and remained with the company in Europe until 1995, during which time he worked through all manufacturing positions. He then moved to the United States to lead seven North American factories before taking the Manufacturing Engineering Global position.

In 2001, Fleming moved back to Europe and worked in Koln, Germany, as vice president for manufacturing and then as president and later chairman and CEO for Ford’s business in Europe, and chairman of Volvo. He returned to the U.S. eight years later to become executive vice president for manufacturing and labor affairs globally as part of then-Chairman and CEO Alan Mulally’s push to expand the company’s global footprint. Fleming also served as Ford’s chief negotiator in two United Auto Workers contract negotiations.

In 2015, Fleming retired from Ford after 48 years. He has since worked in consultancy and board positions and currently is the senior advisor to Changan Automobile Company in China, as well as a board member for Republic Airlines and an advisor to start-ups.

Like Fleming, the lecture series’ founder and benefactor, F. Alan Smith, had a prestigious career at a legacy automaker. He spent more than three decades in leadership positions at General Motors in the U.S. and Canada, including serving as executive vice president of finance of General Motors and president and general manager of General Motors of Canada, Ltd.

Smith, who now lives in Indialantic, has served on Florida Tech’s Board of Trustees since 1996.

To pre-register for the lecture, please click here. For additional information, please email


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