PART 2: TAMA’s Ashley Frye has hit the ground listening
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
“There’s been quite a bit of activity since the April announcement,” Ashley Frye says of his selection as the first-ever full-time Executive Director of the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association (TAMA).
With more than three decades of experience at two different Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) – Nissan, followed by Hyundai, he is approaching the new position with a passion and sense of inquisitiveness.
“My first order of business is to make personal contact with all TAMA members,” Frye says. “Communication is so important.”
The one-on-one discussions start with a simple question: “What can I do for you?” Frye clearly recognizes that any membership organization must be focused on serving the needs of its members.
“We must articulate a value proposition that clearly communicates how a TAMA membership impacts businesses,” he explains.
Continuing the communications theme, Frye says a top focus will be on tools and programs that help members.
“We’re going to make changes to our webpage . . . implement enhancements to make it easier to access additional information,” he adds.
With engineering, operations and production experience at Nissan and Hyundai, Frye also understands the importance of innovation, process improvements, and technology enhancements.
He’s met with representatives of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Tennessee (UT) as well as the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The former is internationally-recognized for its innovations in manufacturing – from materials like carbon fiber to processes like 3D printing.
In the case of UT, Frye is exploring ways to more fully deploy the training resources of the institution’s Center for Industrial Services to members across the state. One topic that he considers critical is business continuity planning.
“I recognize all the potential of working with ORNL and UT,” the new Executive Director says. Frye will also identify government and education institutional resources located across the state that can also support the needs of TAMA members.
Reflecting back on his 34 year automotive career, upon retirement Frye determined to take a year-off to simply relax, relocate and develop ideas on how to make a positive impact going into the future.
“I’m now fully recharged and focused on TAMA becoming the premier association in the state of Tennessee,” Frye says, quickly adding, “I love doing this.”