The American Center for Mobility, a publicly and privately funded advanced automotive technology test site in suburban Detroit, said Monday the state of Michigan's transportation head Kirk Steudle will serve as its interim president and CEO.
Steudle replaces John Maddox, who launched ACM as its top executive in 2016. ACM declined to comment on the circumstances of Maddox' departure.
"The board also expressed their appreciation for the efforts of John Maddox in launching the organization," the statement said.
Steudle will remain director of the Michigan Department of Transportation while serving as ACM's top executive in an interim role. He is not being considered for the permanent position, the board of directors said in a statement.
He has worked for MDOT since 1987, becoming director in 2006. Steudle has served as chair of the Transportation Research Board executive committee and was president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials from in 2011 and 2012.
Steudle is also considered a leader in the development and implementation of connected vehicles from a state-run transportation department. He's overseen hundreds of miles of Michigan highways being equipped with advanced sensors, ranging from road weather stations that are capable of sending weather-related warnings to vehicles, a truck parking information and management system, red light warning communication and many more abilities.
He also led the state's involvement in ACM.
ACM officially opened to partners in late 2017 with the completion of the first phase of construction, which includes a 2.5-mile highway loop with on- and off-ramps, a 700-degree curved tunnel, customer garage and operations center. Phase two will feature a technology park for customers, an urban driving environment and ACM's new headquarters, which are housed at the former Willow Run airport terminal. Construction is already underway.
The state of Michigan approved $35 million for the nonprofit controlling ACM, Willow Run Arsenal of Democracy Landholdings LP, to support the construction of the first phase of the center. The site, however, is largely supported by the private sector, buying sponsorships to use and market the site. Earlier this year, Subaru joined AT&T, Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co., Hyundai America Technical Center Inc., Adient Ltd., Microsoft, Visteon Corp. and others in funding the $135 million build-out of ACM.
The Willow Run site was once home to a thriving General Motors vehicle assembly plant -- bulldozed in 2014 -- along with a Kaiser-Frazer vehicle manufacturing plant and the Ford Motor Co. production plant for B-24 bombers during World War II. The site has come back to life to support autonomous driving, advanced mobility and vehicle artificial intelligence.