Chad Williams loves DMAX and people


BROOKVILLE — Not everyone loves their job.

Chad Williams does.

Williams is the plant director of the General Motors DMAX plants in Brookville and Moraine.

Williams, who is a 23-year GM employee, literally started from the ground floor and rose to the position he has held since last January.

“Mostly the majority of my career is in operations of the complete vehicle,” Williams, who has an undergraduate business administration degree and masters in business administration degree from Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Mo., said.

According to General Motors, Williams “initially started with the company as a first line supervisor in 2001 and has held roles with increased leadership and responsibility in the cross-functional areas of GM vehicle manufacturing including global supply chain, general assembly, lean material strategies and global propulsion systems.”

“I started my career with General Motors in Wentzville (St. Louis, Mo.) in 2001 as an intern in the computer department,”Williams said.

“I had the opportunity to be a first-line group leader and then got the opportunity to do some more advanced solid roles with General Motors,” Williams continued.

Williams noted the Wentzville plant built a full-size van when he was there in 2001.

Williams said he then went to the Lordstown, Ohio, plant where he had his first shift lead assignment.

A short time later, Williams returned to the Wentzville plant when GM added the Colorado and Canyon pickup trucks to the lineup.

“They said, hey, do you want to go back to Wentzville and I said absolutely,” Williams said.

“Most of my wife’s side of the family is from that area and it was a good opportunity to go back and get some good visibility based on the fact they just launched a new truck and they had a lot of real good buzz,” Williams said.

While at the Wentzville plant the second time, Williams said he received “experience as a business manager (general foreman) and a shift lead” position.

“I spent some time there and did some assignments and some special assignments,” Williams said.

Then, Williams said, came the call to go to the DMAX plant in Moraine as an assistant plant manager in 2021.

“I spent about a year and a half here (Moraine) and then had the opportunity to go to the Fort Wayne (Indiana) assembly plant where I was the area director,” Williams said.

Williams remained in Fort Wayne until he received the opportunity to return to DMAX.

“At the top of this year I got a call stating there’s an opportunity for you to actually get back here as the plant director,” Williams said.

“I was really excited to get back to the area. When I was in Fort Wayne for 20 months, my family stayed here, Williams said, noting his family lives in Centerville.

“My wife (Corrye) and kids love the area. I’ve got an older daughter attending Wright State University. I’ve got a middle daughter attending Sinclair (Community College) and my youngest daughter is going to Ball State in Muncie, Ind., as a freshman,” Williams said.

Williams said he was also excited to return to the DMAX facility and “be a part of something so big and so huge.”

“This Duramax diesel engine is leading the market and sets GM apart from the others,” Williams said.

According to information provided by General Motors, DMAX was founded in 1999 as a joint venture with Isuzu Diesel Services of America, Inc., and became a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors in May of 2022.

DMAX consists of two manufacturing plants. The Moraine plant, located at 3100 Dryden Road, opened in 1999. The Brookville plant opened in 2021 at 101 W. Campus Boulevard.

In June of 2023, General Motors announced plans to expand the Brookville location with the addition of a 1.1 million square foot building next to the current 251,000 square foot facility.

GM stated the plant expansion is part of a $970 million investment to support production of future internal combustion heavy-duty truck powertrain products at Brookville.

“The goal is to expand what we currently are doing now. It is all about ensuring that we are transforming ourselves and doing the things we need to do to be competitive,” Williams said.

DMAX provides diesel engines for heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and heavy-duty GMC Sierra pickup trucks.

DMAX additionally produces engines for Navistar in Springfield where the engines are placed in medium-duty trucks.

DMAX also produces a short block for marine diesel engine used in large commercial fishing boats.

GM has a partnership with Gale Banks Engineering where the company ships a short block for the military’s JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle).

Accoring to GM, “more than 3.1 million Duramax diesel engines have been produced since its launch in 2000, meeting the demands of the heavy-duty truck customer.”

Williams said the Brookville facility operates concurrently with the Moraine plant.

“Currently what is done at the Brookville plant is machinery work,” Williams said.

“We are machining blocks and heads which are sent to the Moraine plant where the engine is assembled,” Williams added.

Williams said the finished engine is then shipped from the Moraine plant to GM plants in Oshawa, Canada, and to Flint, Mich.

The engines, Williams said, will power the GMC Sierra, the Chevrolet Silverado and Kodiak pickup trucks.

“A total of 882 fully assembled engines are built every day. All of the schedules are geared for customer demand,” Williams said.

Williams indicated there are 84 hourly and six salaried employees working at the Brookvile plant while there are 850 hourly and 134 salary employees working in Moraine.

“There are three shifts in Brookville and two shifts of assembly and three shifts of machining in Moraine,” Williams said.

Williams has been described by General Motors as “an industrious, driven, and personable leader who thrives on building and leading teams and achieving sound business results.”

In layman’s terms, Williams could be described as a “sports player/manager or coach” who calls the plays and occasionally steps up to the plate. He isn’t afraid to jump in and get his hands dirty. In fact, it’s not unusual to see Williams roll up his sleeves and work along side his employees.

“For me, it’s important that you get the feel of the actual putting the parts, putting the engines, or putting whatever together that makes you a better manager,” Williams said.

“You understand what the work force deals with and it’s a ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ thought process that really helps from a leadership perspective. There’s more empathy. You know how people feel and what makes them tick,” Williams continued.

That’s because Williams is a “people person.”

“I will tell you that I love people. I love the people engagement. I love the challenges. I love working with the people and I absolutely love to be hands-on when I’m in the plant,” Williams said.

“It’s always well-received by the employees. I truly believe in meeting people where they are and with as much automation there is in manufacturing. at the end of the day, we still need our team members and they need to understand and know that we’ve got their backs. That’s really about that for me,” Williams continued.

That is why Williams is a member of the DMAX Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team and has been on the forefront at DMAX of such fundraising projects as the United Negro College Fund.

Williams, a board member of the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton, is also busy linking the Moraine and Brookville plants with the organization that is “dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry and discrimination wherever it occurs.”

Williams is also heavily involved in creating job opportunities for teens as they prepare to leave high school.

“We’ve teamed up with Trotwood and Northridge in their career technology center to start understanding what it takes to create that pipeline now for our skilled trades area. Our union management team joint partnership is actually working with that group to create that partnership,” Williams said.

Williams also said DMAX is increasing its presence in Brookville, noting the DMAX team recently participated in the Brookville Elementary School’s Earth Day event.

“It was a really cool opportunity for us to get in the community,” Williams said.

Williams said being part of the Brookville community is a high priority.

“It’s great to say Brookville’s got a plant, but it’s even better to say Brookville’s got a plant and DMAX is engaged in our community,” Williams said.

“It’s about getting into the community and staying in the community. That’s what I preach and that’s what this team rallies around. That’s really our focus,” Williams added.

To help bolster their commitment to the surrounding areas, Williams noted General Motors is planning in 2024 a local grant funding program to support local community organizations.

Williams said he is proud to be with such a company as DMAX.

“I love DMAX,” Williams said.

“I always tell people at DMAX we have that secret sauce and that’s our people. It’s the human management relationship and how we always come together around safety and producing world-class engines. That’s really what it’s about for me,” Williams said.

“My focus is in whatever I do for the company it is to put myself in the position to lead in whatever it is I’m a part of and to leave it better than I find it,” Williams said.

Reach Terry Baver at [email protected].

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