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Why do long-time industry professionals like Honda North America’s Scott Morris volunteer their time?

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We’ve all heard it said: Volunteering for your industry is one of the most important and most needed acts a professional will ever do. But in today’s increasingly challenging global climate, finding time is harder than ever. So why do people do it?
Scott Morris, a native to Ohio, has an accounting degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield. He has been with Honda for 29 years. His experience includes management in assembly, parts quality, environmental, and currently, sustainability. 

As our interview series continues, Morris, who is the manager for Honda’s Supply Chain Sustainability Unit, shares his perspective on why very busy people find satisfaction in volunteering.

AIAG: What are your current roles and responsibilities?

Morris: I manage Honda’s Supply Chain Sustainability business unit, which falls within the Planning Department of Honda’s North American Procurement Division. We cover all manufacturing facilities in North America, including Mexico and Canada. The unit’s programs encourage Honda suppliers to take leadership in the key areas such as Substances of Concern (SoC), Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and Conflict Minerals (CM).

Since we have North America responsibilities, our team spends a lot of time interacting with suppliers. We have a strong team, and have found success in collaborating with our suppliers.

AIAG: How did your work at Honda evolve into your current contribution to the Corporate Responsibility team at AIAG?  

Morris: In the early 2000s, when the EU launched its initiative to eliminate the four heavy metals from manufactured goods, including cars, I was leading that initiative for Honda’s Parts Quality Department at one of Honda’s manufacturing plants. As quality evolved to include new regulations such as REACH and RRR, Honda North America recognized the need for its Sustainability Unit to grow, and I had the opportunity to be part of that growth. The topic of sustainability was in its early stages, and with a team of three, the unit was established. With the additional challenges of GHG and Conflict Minerals, we continue to grow and now have six people on the team. It was a very exciting time to become involved — and still is.

I was also fortunate to begin working with Elly Bradford, who led the unit at that time. She was very involved with AIAG, and supported my participation within the first few months, initially with AIAG’s GHG and SoC initiatives. That has since expanded to working in other workgroups pertaining to conflict minerals as well as sustainability.

Since the Conflict Minerals Supply Chain Outreach launched in April, I’m even more involved in advancing supplier/OEM relationships, as well as with corporate responsibility across the industry as a whole. AIAG and the industry have been working together to provide resources such as:

  • Dedicated Microsite

  • Conflict Minerals Reporting Template

  • Guide for responding to the templates

  • Conflict Minerals Reporting Checklist

  • Extensive FAQ

  • Case studies

  • List of smelters training, and events including the fourth Conflict Minerals Briefing scheduled for August 4th

AIAG: Tell us about someone (mentor, sponsor, friend, hero) who affected your sustainability journey.

Morris: Through her leadership of the new Sustainability Unit and her involvement with AIAG, Elly Bradford took Honda’s sustainability initiative from a blank canvas to what is now a global initiative for the company. She shared her vision with all of us, and I’ve been lucky to have worked closely with Elly. I still look to her for leadership, as she now manages Honda’s North America Planning Department, and I moved into her role as manager of the Sustainability Unit. Her guidance and leadership is still very much appreciated.

AIAG: What is the best advice you have ever received?

Morris: One of my early bosses said, “If you keep on thinking like you always thought, you’ll keep on getting what you always got. So don’t be satisfied with status quo — keep challenging yourself to consider new ways of doing things.” I’ve tried to follow that advice throughout my career, and I believe it works.

AIAG: Can you share a recent accomplishment you are especially proud of?

Morris: Besides being proud of my two daughters and four grandchildren, all of whom live nearby, I’m proud that I’ve become a runner. I used to be a couch potato and was really overweight. Encouraged by Alissa Yakali, a co-worker and active member of AIAG, on October 23, 2013, I stepped onto an elliptical for the first time. One year later, shy of 4 days, I had finished my first half marathon. I’ve completed two of them now, and have my third one this October. I am now completely off all my medications, lost 50 pounds, and feel better than ever. I’m even thinking of taking my fitness to a new level — eying a full marathon in 2016.

In addition to the personal health benefits, I’ve found it a great way to connect with colleagues from other companies. I especially enjoy sharing experiences via email with Todd Yaney from FCA.

More Stories to Come
In the future, we’ll hear more of what our most passionate volunteers have to say so we can learn what makes them do what they do. Do you know someone who has been an excellent role model? Email Beverly Sturtevant at beverlys@arion-media.com