James, Wilbert W, "Wil"(born: 1956)
In July, 2010, Wilbert "Wil" James was named the 7th president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, KY; the plant is Toyota's largest automotive manufacturing plant on this continent. Wil James is also the first African American president of the company. He has been a Toyota employee since 1987 when he became an employee at the Toyota plant in Georgetown. During the next 24 years, Wilbert James advanced within Toyota, having held leadership positions in plants in various locations such as California and Indiana. Wilbert W. James is a native of Norfolk, VA. He earned a mechanical engineering technology degree from Old Dominion University in 1978. His promotion to plant president was said to be part of Toyota's promise "to shift more responsibility to non-Japanese managers by promoting North Americans and Europeans to run factories outside Japan" [source: Jonathan Soble, "Toyota promotes non-Japanese managers in wake of problems," Financial Times, 06/25/2010, p. 13]. Of the 14 manufacturing plants in North America, 12 were run by non-Japanese staff in 2010. For more on Wilbert James' accomplishments, see his biography at the Toyota website. See also "Toyota celebrates 10-millionth vehicle made in Kentucky," Bennington Banner (VT), 05/31/2014, p. N01; and "Toyota plant partners with Kentucky State University," Targeted News Service (USA), 03/22/2014.