TSU Alum Kevin W. Williams Named President, CEO of Major Global Manufacturing Company

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Kevin W. Williams, a Tennessee State University alum and member of the TSU Foundation Board of Trustees, is the new president and CEO of Detroit-based GAA Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management. Williams is a former senior executive of General Motors.

In announcing Williams’ appointment, GAA Chairman Sylvester L. Hester described him as a “game changer” for the company.

“Kevin Williams’ proven leadership capabilities at GM, including a strong track record of growing revenues, managing global operations and delivering quality-driven processes and products, will be key as we continue to diversify and expand our global network of resources to meet the demands of our supply chain customers,” Hester said.

GAA Founder and Executive Chairman William F. Pickard said adding Williams to “our team” demonstrates the company’s commitment to its customers and its seriousness about market growth.

“Kevin is one of America’s most talented executives and we are absolutely delighted that he chose to join us,” Pickard said. “His arrival is simply momentous.”

A native of Lexington Park, Maryland, Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from TSU in 1983 and a master’s in business administration from Central Michigan University in 1989. In 2002, Williams completed the GM Senior Executive Development Program.

Over the course of his 31-year career at GM, Williams accumulated extensive experience where he held numerous global roles. Most recently, he served as board chairman, president and managing director of GM of Canada Ltd, with revenues of $38.7 billion. Prior to that, Williams served as GM vice president and general manager, service and parts operations, where he oversaw all GM global aftersales businesses with annual revenues of $24.5 billion. He also served as president and managing director of GM de Mexico, and GM Central American and the Cayman Islands.

A native of Lexington Park, Maryland, Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Tennessee State University in 1983 and a master’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan University in 1989. In 2002, Williams completed the GM Senior Executive Development Program.

In addition to the TSU Foundation Board of Trustees, Williams is vice chair of the board of directors of the United Negro College Fund, a member of the board of trustees of the American Medical Association, and a former trustee of Genesys Health System of Michigan.

GAA Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, one of the country’s largest African-American-owned businesses,  provides contract logistics, procurement, quality containment, warehousing, freight forwarding and contract assembly services.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Ag researchers address recalls, food safety at holidays

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University researchers in the College of Agriculture have some pertinent food safety information for consumers amid recent recalls and the bustling holiday season.

Last month, there was a recall of romaine lettuce after a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections were linked to the lettuce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There was a similar ground beef recall in June.

Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge

Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge is an associate research professor in the College of Ag’s Department of Human Sciences at TSU. She says whenever there’s a recall, consumers should take them seriously.

“It is important for consumers to listen to the news and be aware of food recalls,” says Kilonzo-Nthenge. “Some of the recalled products may be in our homes.”

In the last year, TSU’s College of Agriculture has received more than a million dollars for food safety research.

Kilonzo-Nthenge is the principal investigator for a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pursue an integrated approach to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in cattle and poultry, and help establish stewardship programs for small and medium-sized ranchers.

“Consumers are educated on safe handling practices at home and our farmers are trained on good agricultural practices that prevent or reduce meats and fresh produce contamination with pathogenic bacteria that might be resistant to antibiotics,” says Kilonzo-Nthenge.

Dr. Ankit Patras, a research assistant professor of agricultural science, also recently received two grants totaling more than $650,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Trojan Technologies of Canada, and California-based Aquafine Corporation. The grants are funding research to make food safer by eliminating harmful viruses and bacterial endospores in juices and other beverages.

Dr. Ankit Patras

“An important aspect of the study is to create science-based knowledge and bridge existing knowledge gaps by assessing the sensitivity of target foodborne viruses and spores to this treatment,” says Patras, the principal investigator. “We want to identify markers of oxidative stress, which can be correlated to microbial inactivation.”

This holiday season, TSU researchers say there are some simple ways to avoid foodborne illnesses. They include:

  • Wash hands and surfaces after handling raw meats.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry apart from freh produce and foods.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, then lower temperature to 350 F when putting turkey into the oven. Cook for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes. Turkey is done when it registers a minimum of 165 F in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Hot or cold food should not be left out for more than two hours. Bacteria grow rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 F and 140 F, doubling in as little as 20 minutes.
  • Hot foods should be kept at a temperature of at least 140 F.
  • Cold foods, such as chicken salad or potato salad, should be kept cold, at or below 40 F.

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.


TSU remembers ag students judy stanley, vybhav gopisetty

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University family is mourning the loss of two TSU students killed in an auto accident Thanksgiving night.

Judy Stanley, 23, and Vybhav Gopisetty, 26, were both graduate students from India pursuing food science degrees in the College of Agriculture. Stanley was seeking a master’s, and Gopisetty a doctorate.

Authorities say the fatalities were the result of an apparent hit-and-run accident in south Nashville. The owner of the GMC pickup truck that hit the students’ Nissan Sentra has met with Metro Nashville Police to answer questions about the collision, but no arrest has been made.

As we head into the holiday season, please let’s keep the families of the two students in our thoughts and prayers. 

A moment of silence was held for the students at the university’s Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 4.

A fundraising page has been set up to help the families with funeral costs: https://bit.ly/2LhFd9B.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.