SAE 2014 Convergence

October 21-22, 2014

Detroit, Michigan, USA

COBO Center

Executive Visionaries Panel

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Organized by Tim Callard

Comprising the top automotive technology executives from the world's technology integration visionaries, this panel is a terrific opportunity to learn where the industry is heading and what is going to be expected from technology suppliers. The panelists represent the gatekeepers of new vehicle technologies, features and functions. Find out which technologies are gaining traction with the OEMs and how those technologies will transform personal mobility The Executive Visionaries panel provides a unique forum to share insights with the global supplier community.

John McElroy, Blue Sky Productions
Alan Amici, Chrysler Corporation
James Buczkowski, Ford Motor Co.
Harald Kroeger, Daimler
Matthew Schroeder, General Motors Co.


John McElroy John McElroy
Blue Sky Productions

John McElroy is the host of "Autoline Daily" the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis. He is also the host of the television program "Autoline This Week," a weekly half-hour discussion program featuring top automotive executives and journalists. The show can be seen online at McElroy also broadcasts five radio segments daily on WWJ Newsradio 950, the CBS affiliate in Detroit. He writes a weekly blog for and a monthly op-ed article for Ward's AutoWorld.

John McElroy brings an extensive background to covering the auto industry. He took his first plant tour when he was only six years old. As he got older, he read any and every book about cars he could get his hands on, which led to an understanding of automotive engineering principles. As his enthusiasm for cars grew, he successfully- though briefly-ventured into amateur road racing. He also gained valuable insight to the industry working as an hourly UAW employee in various automotive manufacturing plants while working his way through college, where he earned a Bachelors Degree in English at Wayne State University.

As a journalist, McElroy put his automotive background to good use. His past experience includes five years as Detroit Editor for Road & Track, and as the American correspondent for World Cars, which was published by the Automotive Club of Italy. He was also invited to write the annual automotive entry for the Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook. He spent most of his career at the trade magazine Automotive Industries where he ultimately rose to Editorial Director. McElroy has appeared as an automotive expert on ABC World News Tonight, CBS News, and NBC Nightly News. He is often interviewed by CNN, NPR, and CBC in Canada. He is frequently asked to speak to automakers, suppliers and industry organizations. He is a member of the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year.

McElroy has won numerous awards for editorial excellence, particularly the Jesse H. Neal award in 1984 for his series titled, "Inside Japan," and in 1995 and 1997 for his Editorial opinion pieces. In 1997 he was named "Communicator of the Year" by the Sales and Marketing Executives of Detroit. He was awarded first place in the International Wheels Awards in 2004 for his television documentary "The Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise" and in 2005 for his documentary "Challenge Bibendum" and second place in 2006 for "A Car Is Born." John McElroy is a thorough student of the industry as a print journalist, television and radio broadcaster, analyst and lecturer.


Alan Amici Alan Amici
Head of Global Uconnect for Fiat-Chrysler
Chrysler Group

Al Amici was appointed Head of Global Uconnect for Fiat-Chrysler in September of 2014. In this role, Amici is responsible for Fiat Chrysler's connected car program. He is also responsible for Uconnect Advance Technology, Strategy, Planning, Connected Services Engineering, Marketing and Operations.

With more than 26 years of experience with Chrysler Group, Amici has held a variety of increasingly responsible positions in engineering, manufacturing and service. Significant elements of his professional background include:

  • Head of Electrical and Electronics (Turin, Italy)
  • Head of Electrical and Electronics (Auburn Hills, MI)
  • Chief Engineer, Alliance Vehicle Programs
  • Director, Vehicle Development
  • Director, Body Electronics and EE Architecture
  • Senior Manager, Technology for Diagnostics and Flash Programming
  • Senior Manager , Powertrain and Chassis Electronics
  • Senior Manager, Manufacturing Engineering
  • Senior Manager, Global Service and Parts, Mercedes Car Group (Stuttgart, Germany)

Amici is the holder if two patents, is the recipient of the Walter P. Chrysler Technology Award and is a member of the SAE Convergence Technical Council where he served as the Technical Program Chair for Convergence in 2008.

Amici earned his Masters in Business Administration degree, Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering degree and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is a graduate of the Chrysler Institute of Engineering.

James A. Buczkowski James A. Buczkowski
Henry Ford Technical Fellow and Director
Electrical and Electronics Systems, Research and Innovation
Ford Motor Company

Jim Buczkowski is a Henry Ford Technical Fellow and Director, Electrical and Electronics Systems Research and Innovation. He is responsible for the research and design of electrical and electronic systems including in-car information and entertainment, telematics, driver information, and active safety systems for Ford vehicles globally.

An in-demand speaker with a knack for engaging his audience, Buczkowski has spoken at Intel Labs, Texas Instruments, Cisco and Microsoft and participated as part of Ford Keynotes at CES, IFA and other technology venues. These forums bring together leaders in their field to speak about how technology trends will impact future experiences as well as how successful strategies resonate with customer needs.

To say Jim Buczkowski is an early adopter is an understatement. He's always anxious to experience how technology can change our lives and his home is filled with gadgets ranging from Nest thermostats, a 3D home theater, to a web app to control the family swimming pool from a phone or tablet. He is a subscriber to various Beta test programs including Slingbox and TIVO and experiments with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and satisfies his thirst for continuous learning through hands on software coding and home automation projects. He says the best way to evaluate technology is hands on. "It's easy to envision what technology can do, but I've learned that you really don't understand it until it's in your hands and you are using it." He believes a quick prototype, even if it's not elegant, demoing the experience is extremely powerful and necessary before one can really decide whether the technology can deliver a valuable consumer experience.

Buczkowski is also passionate about the future of innovation and is dedicated to ensuring students and young professionals are prepared to solve the next generation of transportation dilemmas. He is active in Ford's sponsorship of research projects at the University of Michigan, his alma mater, MIT and with the opening of Ford's Silicon Valley Research Lab, hopes to engage with Stanford as well. Recognizing the need to influence young people to get interested in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) he provides active support for the SquareOne education network which helps high school and grade school students learn and fosters their interest in Science and Engineering. Buczkowski also volunteers as a judger for the annual Multiple Sclerosis DaVinci Awards that recognize and honor innovation in assistive and adaptive technologies.

Buczkowski is also active in the Electrical System Group within the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) International's Motor Vehicle Council, helping to develop standards for current and emerging technologies and act as a bridge to the high tech consumer electronics community. Also with SAE he both leads and participates in technical sessions at the Convergence Automotive Electronics event held bi-annually.

Harald Kroeger Harald Kroeger
Vice President E/E & e-Drive
Mercedes Benz

Harald Kroeger is responsible for development of Electrics and Electronics of all Mercedes-Benz cars. In addition, as a vice president within Mercedes, he is the head of development for electric vehicles, electric motors, high voltage batteries and power electronics. Before this assignment, Harald was head of quality management for Mercedes-Benz, managing quality in product design, product development, manufacturing, sales and after sales, as well as overall supplier quality management.

Harald started his career with Daimler-Benz in 1995 in research and development, working on radar technologies for vehicles. These systems are now part of the advanced cruise control systems and crash protection devices used in virtually all Mercedes vehicles.

After assignments in different Mercedes plants in South Africa and Germany, Harald was named as head of purchasing for electrics and electronics, with responsibility for more than $5 billion worth of purchased material, as well as managing the global purchasing alliance with Chrysler and Mitsubishi for all E/E components.

Before joining Mercedes, Harald worked for Philips AG in 1993 in research on electric motors, holding patents on foil motors.

Harald holds a Master of Science in Electrics/Electronics from Stanford University, a master of science in Control Engineering, and a bachelor in economics, both from University of Hannover, Germany. He is an alumni of the "Deutsche Studienstiftung" (supporting the top 1% of German students), the "Philips Preis" (given to the top 3 E/E students at selected German universities, the "Siemens Studentenkreis" (supporting the top engineering students at selected German universities) and the German academic exchange service (DAAD).

Matthew Schroeder Matthew Schroeder
Executive Director
General Motors Co.

Matt Schroeder is Executive Director, Vehicle System Engineering at General Motors beginning in June 2014.

Mr. Schroeder carries a wealth of international leadership and engineering experience, having previously served as Executive Director Global Functional Leader of Vehicle Infotainment and OnStar Engineering for General Motors overseeing the company's design and development of vehicle Infotainment systems and OnStar engineering. Prior to the GFL role, Matt was the Managing Director for General Motors International Operations (GMIO) Electrical Engineering and GM Korea Electrical Engineering Department, and as Director of Electrical Engineering for Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) in Shanghai, China.

During his 32 years with GM, Mr. Schroeder has worked on a wide variety of programs and has experience in Electrical Engineering and Powertrain Controls. He holds an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and a B.S in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Mr. Schroeder recently celebrated his 31st anniversary with wife Sheri and their three children.