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Big Personnel Changes At Bowling Green Assembly Plant

Corvette plant director retires, new replacement announced

The Corvette Manufacturing Plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky is expected to re-open on June 1, 2021.
The Corvette Manufacturing Plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky is expected to re-open on June 1, 2021.

If you’ve ever been to (or followed) a National Corvette Museum Bash you’ll know there is always some unexpected news that breaks. For instance, the E-Ray racetrack ban reversal that occurred after the sanctioning body president chatted with the Corvette product marketing manager at the Bash. As compelling as that news was, (I wrote about it here), the announcement from the Corvette plant director seemed to send even more ripples through the enthusiast community.

You could hear literal surprise from the audience when director Kai Spande recently announced the news and opened by saying, “You know, kinda bittersweet message for all of you…I’m here to tell you that effective July 31st I am retired…” The crowd exclaims, “Nooooo”, there was some murmuring and a few claps, then Kai goes on to say, “So, as the story goes, a month and a half or so ago there was a program in the company to allow people to retire early and I have voluntarily taken that opportunity…”

As the crowd still seemed shocked, Kai lightened the mood and went on to joke that his wife, who was in the audience and also took early retirement under this program, must have been “much more valuable” because she has to stay longer. Understandably, there was a roar of laughter from the group watching this touching announcement.

You can catch his full heartfelt speech in the video below. Kai won’t completely disappear from the Corvette world. When he retires, he will stay in Bowling Green as he serves out his term as chairman of the Corvette Museum’s Board of Directors which ends later this year. After that, given his obvious passion for the brand and likeability from its enthusiasts, I am sure we will see Kai around the scene for years to come.

Who will be replacing Kai? GM tapped into another division and announced last Friday that Raymond Theriault will take the helm as plant director. Here is a quick bio of Raymond, as reported by our friends at CorvetteBlogger:

“Senior Manager – EV Supplier Integration, will be promoted to Plant Director, Bowling Green Assembly, replacing Kai Spande, effective June 1st. Raymond has held various roles in both GPS and VAP in cars and trucks as well as an international assignment in GMIO and China. These roles include Quality Manager, Quality Operations Director, Assistant Plant Manager and Assistant Plant Director. Prior to his current assignment, Raymond was the Assistant Plant Manager at Spring Hill Engine. In his new assignment, he will report directly to Camilo Ballesty.”

From all the enthusiasts at CorvSport, we thank you, Kai, for your 31 years of service to GM, and for the 8 years as plant director for our beloved Corvette. Kai has experienced a wide range of challenges, from the monumental expansion of the plant and paint shop to the complete retooling and reconfiguration of the assembly plant for the C8 Corvette. And lest we forget, the chaos caused by the tornado strike that hit the plant in December 2021. We congratulate and wish the best to Raymond Theriault, and have confidence you will be a good steward of our Corvette as it rolls down the assembly line.

We have an active community on our Facebook page, I would love to hear from you!  Douglas B.

The 2021 Corvette travels down the assembly line of GM's Bowling Green Manufacturing Plant.
The 2021 Corvette travels down the assembly line of GM’s Bowling Green Manufacturing Plant.