Intel exec to lead American Center for Mobility

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
The American Center for Mobility's site at Willow Run features as 700-foot curved tunnel.

The American Center for Mobility has named Intel Corp.'s automotive sales head as its new president and CEO.

Michael Noblett

Michael Noblett, global segment lead of automotive industry sales for the Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor manufacturer, will replace interim CEO Kirk Steudle effective Feb. 25. His selection follows a nationwide search for a leader of the self-driving vehicle testing and development facility at Willow Run in Ypsilanti Township.

Noblett will manage the strategy and direction for the proving grounds and work with the board of directors to accelerate the center's development. At Intel, Noblett helped pioneer multinational activities to advance connected vehicle technologies, advanced safety transportation systems and delivery services.

In August, Steudle, former Michigan Transportation Department director, replaced John Maddox, who launched the mobility center as its top executive in 2016.

Mark Chaput will oversee day-to-day operations at the facility. Chaput recently was promoted to chief operating officer from vice president of operations and construction.

Jeff Rupp, who joined the team in May, also is now the chief technical officer and chief safety officer.

Ford Motor Co. produced B-24 bombers during World War II at Willow Run. General Motors Co. later had a vehicle assembly plant there. The site now supports connected autonomous driving and vehicle artificial intelligence.

The U.S. Energy Department awarded the center in September a grant to study fuel-efficient platooning on highways and to look at communication systems reliability in adverse weather. The American Center for Mobility also is developing technical training programs and coordinating efforts to develop a new research study on workforce development trends with its 23-member academic consortium.

Since opening, the center has added to the 500-acre site two testing environments and a corridor to replicate bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

“The board believes Michael Noblett is the ideal leader for ACM as it transitions from a start-up into a mature organization,” Doug Rothwell, CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan and chair of the center's board of directors, said in a statement. “Michael, along with Mark Chaput and Jeff Rupp, give us a leadership team that will solidify ACM’s position as a world-class test facility and resource for advanced technology research.”