Ford CEO to talk about smart mobility at Ohio summit

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Jim Hackett will give a keynote talk next month in Columbus at a Midwestern Governors Association summit on smart technologies.

Republican Gov. John Kasich, the outgoing chair of the association, is hosting the summit to focus on how Midwestern states can capitalize on emerging and advanced technologies to position the region for economic growth. The two-day event includes talks about self-driving vehicles, renewable energy, the advent of 5G telecommunications, and workforce development.

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Hackett is slated to discuss how automated technologies will change transportation. Before being named CEO, Hackett was chairman of Ford Smart Mobility, LLC, vice chairman of Steelcase and interim athletic director at the University of Michigan. Hackett played center for the Michigan football team as an undergraduate and as athletic director, he hired Jim Harbaugh as head coach.

Hackett's brother is state Sen. Bob Hackett, R-London, whose district covers Clark, Green and Madison counties.

Related: Ohio to fund smart highways and autonomous car research

Other speakers expected the summit include officials from Cisco Systems, Inc., Kitty Hawk Corp., Amazon and American Electric Power.

Kasich’s latest state budget includes funding for high-tech roadways and an expansion of the Transportation Research Center, a 40-year-old proving ground on 4,500 acres in East Liberty.

Related: Local site could be selected for federal driverless car designation

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