The OEM Panel is a multi-year favorite of SAC attendees, and this year, we’re looking into the future of our industry. Our star-studded lineup for 2018 features top regional executives from some of the biggest OEMs in the country who are ready to share insights, give updates, and discuss the future of the automotive industry on a regional, national, and global level.
Moderator: John Waraniak
  • Vice President, Vehicle Technology, SEMA - West Bloomfield, Michigan
  • John has been Vice President of Vehicle Technology at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) since May 2006. In this role, he helps leading automotive and performance aftermarket companies integrate their products with the latest advanced vehicle technologies and capitalize on new business and product development opportunities. He is an acknowledged leader and advocate for automaker-aftermarket-technology innovation and collaboration for advancing safety performance, connected, assisted and automated driving, new mobility solutions and systems engineering management.
Panelist: Stuart Countess
  • Chief Administrative Officer, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia - West Point, GA
  • Stuart Countess is the Chief Administrative Officer for Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG). In this position, Countess is responsible for leading the Human Resources and Administration Division including Team Relations, Public Relations, Safety and Security, Environmental, General Affairs, Legal and Sales. He previously served as the Vice President of Quality overseeing overall vehicle quality for the Kia Sorento, Kia Optima and Hyundai Santa Fe as well as supplier quality, process quality, customer satisfaction, warranty and ISO/TS certifications for Business Management Systems. Originally, Countess joined KMMG in 2008 as the senior manager for the General Assembly Shop.  
Panelist: Mark Brazeal
  • Vice President of Administration, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. - Huntsville, Alabama
  • Mark Brazeal is the Vice President of Administration at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. He is responsible for all administration operations of the new joint venture including Human Resources, Safety, Production Control, Environmental, Accounting and External Affairs. Mr. Brazeal comes to Mazda Toyota Manufacturing from Toyota Motor North America, where he served in General Manager roles at the company’s engine plants in Alabama and West Virginia.
Panelist: Brad Thacker
  • Senior Director of Parts Quality Engineering, Nissan North America – Smyrna, TN
  • Brad Thacker is responsible for the quality of parts and components for Nissan’s North American operations. Brad has 30 years of manufacturing and engineering experience in the automotive industry. While at Nissan, Brad has led the Parts Quality and Manufacturing Quality organizations, the Business Transformation function, and the Total Customer Satisfaction organization. Brad is most satisfied when working with a cross functional group of leaders and engineers, on the shop floor, finding creative solutions to enhance quality and productivity. Brad especially enjoys the diversity and the enthusiasm that he encounters when working throughout Nissan’s supply base.
Panelist: Kevin McAtamney
  • Plant Quality Director, Volvo Car USA - Ridgeville, SC
  • Kevin joined Volvo Cars in March 2018 as quality director. He is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction by securing and monitoring the correct implementation of the quality operating system, and developing quality assurance procedures at Volvo Cars’ first U.S. manufacturing plant in Ridgeville, S.C. Prior to Volvo Cars, Kevin spent 17 years at General Motors, serving in various management positions including quality system manager, senior global program manager for Advanced Propulsion, senior global IT manufacturing and quality manager, and senior quality engineer.
Find out more about our incredible speaker lineup, as well as full bios for all of our OEM panelists, at www.southernautocon.com
Don’t forget – in 2017, SAC was a SOLD-OUT EVENT, and registrations are going fast for 2018.

Be sure to save your spot to attend, exhibit, and sponsor SAC2018 before time runs out!