The King Street Marketing Group and Halls Chophouse are pleased to welcome Michael Balke, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC (MBV) as our guest speaker Thursday, April 6 Small Business Lunch at Halls.
The automaker's manufacturing site in Ladson is a $500 million local investment with plans to grow its team by up to 1,300 for the Palmetto Commerce Park factory by the time full production starts before 2020.
MBV is part of the Daimler AG group and currently is a re-assembly plant for all Sprinter and Metris Vans in the United States. The new plant and the Sprinters "made in USA" will enable the company to more economically meet the growing demand, and to considerably reduce delivery time to this market.
The company has partnered with readySC to provide initial training for both existing team members and new hires to enable them to grow into their new roles. Current openings for specialist positions can be seen at Daimler.com/career and manufacturing positions are posted on readysc.org/mercedes.
The Sprinter is one of the most successful commercial vehicles of all time and a bestseller in the Daimler product portfolio. Since its market launch in 1995, the division has delivered over three million units of its "world vehicle" to customers.
The United States is one of the fastest growing van markets in the world. It has become the second-largest single market for the Sprinter in terms of unit sales, after Germany.
Michael is originally from Germany and has been with Daimler since 1992 and holds degrees in Automotive Engineering and Manufacturing. During the past 25 years, he has held a variety of positions within Daimler. He started his career in Sindelfingen, Germany working for the Mercedes-Benz Cars Development department.
Since then he engaged in specialist and managerial functions in Production, Production Planning, and an Executive Assistant to a member of the Board of Management.
Aside from his experience in Germany, Michael also engaged in international assignments within Mercedes-Benz Cars as Plant Manager in Egypt and Vice President of Quality in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In his most recent role, he was the Director of the E-Class and CLS-Class in Sindelfingen, where he successfully prepared the team for the launch of the fifth generation of the E-Class vehicles in 2016.
Michael is married to Martine Lisette and has a 20 year old daughter, Sophie.
Each month, Small Business Lunch at Halls features a distinguished speaker from the business, civic or political arenas upstairs at Halls Chophouse with an imaginative three course meal prepared by Executive Chef Adam Jakins. Of course, there is a full-service, cash bar for your enjoyment.
Tickets are $31 per person for the luncheon. Doors open at 11:30 AM and lunch is served promptly at noon. Limited seating provides an intimate experience with each speaker. Click here for ticket Information or call the 24/7 ticket hotline at 1-800-838-3006.
Halls Chophouse is located at 434 King Street in downtown Charleston. Parking is available at the Visitors' Center Garage on Ann Street between King and Meeting Streets, the Camden Exchange Garage between John and Hutson Streets, or at meters on the street.