Michael Whitens is Director for Vehicle and Enterprise Sciences at Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.  In this role, Whitens is responsible for translating innovations in vehicle materials, manufacturing processes, connectivity, safety, air quality and other component technologies into mobility solutions that are safe, sustainable, and accessible.

An automotive industry veteran with over 29 years of experience, Whitens has spent the majority of his career at Ford Motor Company in various Body Engineering disciplines. Previously, he was Engineering Director, where he led the Global Ford Body Interior Engineering team and was responsible for the global design and development of Ford interior systems from concept to customer.

Whitens is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) Automotive Division and a member of MTU’s External Advisory Board for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 2013.

A recognized industry leader in the development of automotive interiors, he and his teams have received various industry technical awards including the Premier Automotive Suppliers’ Contribution to Excellence (PACE) Innovative Partnership award and Society of Plastic Engineers, as well as numerous patents for component innovation, new material development and interior execution.  Also, he has also been the recipient of several quality awards, including national recognition for “U.S. Design for 6-Sigma”.

Whitens earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Michigan Technological University. He also holds a masters degree in engineering management from Wayne State University.