Michael J. Smitka, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Economics,
Washington and Lee University
Michael Smitka is an economist who specializes on the automotive industry and on the Japanese economy. Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington Virginia, he is the author of Competitive Ties: Subcontracting in the Japanese Automotive Industry, a study of automotive suppliers, and a variety of articles on the auto industry in the US and in East Asia. His BA is from Harvard and PhD from Yale, but he grew up in the city of Detroit, and worked summers in stamping plants in the early 1970s; he also spent 3 years in international banking in New York. Over the past 30 years he spent a cumulative total of 6 years in Japan, with additional stays in Germany, Korea and China. Along with his general interest in the auto industry, one of his research interests is organizational change, and he finds the PACE finalists to be exemplars of the interaction of innovation and organizational structure.