TI Automotive CEO Donates $1 Million to University of Detroit Mercy

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Auburn Hills-based TI Automotive Chairman, CEO and President Bill Kozyra, 59, is donating $1 million to University of Detroit Mercy for the newly built Center for Automotive Systems Engineering Education (CASEE).

The automotive lab will be ready for students to use at the start of the school year and the university is having an unveiling ceremony Sept. 30. Dennis Carlesso, director of development for the College of Engineering and Science at UDM, said about 400 engineering students, from freshmen to graduate students, will be using the lab.

Kozyra's donation will be spread out through 2020 and will fund faculty development, student research funds for special projects and additional tooling and furnishings. He is using his own money, not TI Automotive's.

The school "re-imagined" the 1,500-1,800 square foot space inside the engineering building, completely gutting it and re-purposing it, according to Carlesso. He estimated the cost of building out the space to be just over $1 million, but when adding the cost of equipment, it could run closer to $3 million. The design firm for the project is DiClemente Siegel and the general contractor is McCarthy & Smith.

Carlesso said the CASEE is not a finished product yet. It is easier to get approved for grants from companies, he said, when they can see what their money will be going toward. He hopes to receive more funding from companies to buy equipment that students will be using in the field once they graduate.

"When you talk about this stuff two years out, they're like 'what?'" said Carlesso. "Once they see the equipment, now they say 'oh, I get it.' They're investing in themselves by investing in us."

Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Southfield-based DENSO North America all provided grants helping to fund the center. Private donations from alumni were also used.

"(Kozyra's donation) is going to have a multiplying effect," said Carlesso. "We're very very grateful to Bill."

Kozyra graduated from UDM in 1980 with a degree in mechanical engineering and earned an MBA from Michigan State University in 1988. TI Automotive specializes in automotive fluid systems.

This article originally appeared on crainsdetroit.com

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