Dr. N.H. Paul Chung Memorial Lecture

Transformations in Transportation

Exciting Innovations in the Auto Industry


While the global automotive industry’s origins date back to the 1890’s, these are innovative times for the industry. Concerns about climate change and rising fuel costs are driving auto makers to increase electrification of vehicles, and manufacturers are planning to introduce fully autonomous vehicles to the market in the next decade. These innovations require improvements in battery technology, charging infrastructure investments, and a redesigned supply chain to address shortages in the semiconductor and precious metals industries. How can Hawaii prepare for, and benefit from these transformations? This year’s lecture will address the geopolitical tensions, policy responses and implications of the transformation of transportation in the U.S., Hawaii, and the Asia Pacific region.

Moderator –

Jay Fidell, founder, president and CEO of ThinkTech Hawaii, Inc.

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Keynote Speaker –

Tom Cooney, vice president of global public policy at General Motors

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Tom Cooney is the vice president of global public policy at General Motors (GM). He oversees GM’s international engagement and is responsible for collaborative partnerships with the U.S. and foreign governments in support of GM’s vision of carbon neutrality by 2040 and an all-electric future with zero emissions, zero crashes, and zero congestion. In addition to these core government relations duties, Tom and his team made critical contributions to the GM “Project V” team that built and delivered 30,000 life-saving ventilators in record time during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to joining GM in June of 2019, Tom held several leadership positions within the U.S. State Department during his distinguished 25-year diplomatic career. He attained the senior foreign service rank of Minister-Counselor. Past assignments included long-term chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Argentina and deputy chief of mission in both Argentina and Hong Kong. Tom also completed diplomatic assignments in Beijing, Shanghai, Santiago, Washington and with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command as a foreign policy advisor.