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Environment / Sustainability

Ford Motor Co. sustainability director to speak today

March 22, 2012

John Viera, director of Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters for Ford Motor Co. since 2007, will speak on campus today at 11 a.m. in Room 228 of the Lory Student Center.

CSU Professor Ken Reardon, Jud and Pat Harper Endowed Chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering, met Viera at an event in Fort Collins in December and convinced him to come back to campus for a speaking engagement. Viera will also tour the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory while he’s in town.

Great student learning opportunity

“Mr. Viera's presentation is a special opportunity for the university community to learn about sustainability activities within a major American company that has global operations,” Reardon said. “Students can find out what motivates Ford to implement sustainable business plans and what's on the horizon for corporate sustainability practices.

“I'm sure that Mr. Viera will be impressed with the breadth and depth of sustainability activities here at CSU, including SoGES and the Clean Energy Supercluster, and hope that we can find ways to work with Ford in the future.”

Viera, who was in Denver Wednesday at the Sustainability Opportunities Summit, will speak about “Greening the Blue Oval: Global Sustainability Programs at Ford Motor Co.”

Viera at Ford for 27 years

Viera is responsible for developing global sustainable business plans and policies, interfacing with global regulatory bodies, reporting externally on the company's environmental and social performance, and leading the company's engagement and partnerships with non-government organizations (NGOs) and other key stakeholders.

Viera has held several positions within Ford Motor Company during his 27 year tenure before being named to his current position. For the first 13 years of his career, he worked in the company's Truck Division leading Ford's effort in the development of its first natural gas-fueled pickup trucks and managing the Global Truck Computer Aided Design organization.

In 1997, Viera was appointed manager, Plant Engineering Vehicle Team, Explorer and Mountaineer programs. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Viera was responsible for all on-site engineering personnel for Explorer plants in Louisville, St. Louis, Missouri, and Valencia, Venezuela. He returned to Michigan in 1999 to become the chief engineer for the Ranger Compact Pick-up and Electric Ranger. In 2002, Viera took on the company's mid-term cost reduction initiative, building a team which delivered $1.2 billion of savings in 18 months. In 2003, Viera became chief engineer for the Expedition and Navigator Full Size SUVs, with complete responsibility for current and future model programs.

Viera is an active member of the Product Development arm of the Ford African Ancestry Network (FAAN), with a focus on mentoring and counseling. He currently serves on advisory boards at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, the Graham Institute of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Michigan, the Transportation Resource Board of the National Academies in Washington D.C., and the Energy Advisory Committee at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

A native of Chicago, Viera attended the University of Michigan, receiving his Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1984 as well as Master's in Business Administration in 1992.

Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336