New Conexus Indiana President and Chief Executive Officer Fred Cartwright says he’s “drinking from a firehose” as he takes over initiative that focuses on strengthening Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries. “There’s a lot to learn and it’s a very exciting place,” said Cartwright.
The longtime auto industry executive succeeds Mark Howell, who announced his retirement in March.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Cartwright said no matter his career path, his focus has always been on the future, and he saw that in Conexus. “The fact that it was focused on innovation. So, it was like, ‘you know, we’re doing some really neat things here to prepare us for the future. But what’s next,’” said Cartwright.
Conexus Indiana board chair Denny Oklak says Cartwright is joining at a critical time. “Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries are undergoing dramatic transformations as new technologies increase competitiveness, productivity and profitability,” said Oklak. “We are thrilled to welcome Fred to Conexus Indiana to help guide our industry, talent and public-sector initiatives during one of the most significant times in history as technologies redefine how we make and move products.”
Cartwright brings about four decades of auto industry experience to Conexus, with much of his career focusing on advanced technologies and innovation. “It’s just the way I’m wired. I can’t explain it in any other way,” said Cartwright. “I’ve said a number of times that innovation seems to find me.”
Cartwright graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and from Butler University with a master’s degree in business administration. Cartwright began his career with Indianapolis-based Allison Transmission Inc. (NYSE: ALSN). He later moved to General Motors (NYSE: GM), holding positions in Detroit and Europe. In 2013, Cartwright became executive director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville, S.C.
After his time at Clemson, Cartwright returned to Indiana as president of Pruv Mobility Ecosystem, a Columbus-based start-up company focused on autonomous technology. He says those paths all helped prepare the veteran executive for this new role.
“The experience in the corporate world, in advanced manufacturing the, the academic side of things, and in the startup community, it was all about, so what’s the future going to look like? And what can we do to prepare for it.”
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Cartwright said his entire career has been about taking innovation to the next level with technology that would would make a difference long term.