Ronald E. Hall - Bridgewater Interiors - 2023 Manufacturing Emerging Leader
This article appeared in the November/December 2023 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
Ronald Hall, President and CEO at Bridgewater Interiors in Detroit, is not only carrying on his father’s legacy to maintain the company he started 25 years ago but Hall is also driving the company into the future with insightful advancements.
Bridgewater Interiors is an automotive interiors manufacturing firm, currently concentrated in automotive seating systems. It als o offers just-in-time assembly and sequencing and delivery of complete seat systems for multiple car makers on multiple car platforms. With a team of 2,400 employees in four locations throughout the United States, the company makes about 10 percent of the car seating systems built in North America.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not reminded that I’m following in my father’s footsteps here, and there is a different level of personal accountability that comes with it,” Hall says.
Doing Something Tangible
Leadership. Excellence. Focus. Intentional. Unwavering. Totally Committed.
Those are the words that come to Dr. William Pickard’s mind when he thinks of Ronald Hall.
Pickard, an original partner in the business, longtime board chairman at the company and career-long mentor to Hall, says he is very proud that Hall continued his family’s legacy of excellence and service.
“He has exceeded all my expectations for business and family,” Pickard says. “His parents would be proud of how he has made the company grow and surpassed even their vision.”
Before taking over the company started by his father, Ron Hall Sr., Hall served in the military, earned a law degree and practiced law for eight years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international political economy from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and served several years as a field artillery officer in the U.S. Army. He attained the rank of Captain and was decorated for meritorious service in the Persian Gulf War.
Although he enjoyed the legal field, he found himself leaning toward a career that’s more tangible, making manufacturing the ideal fit for him.
“I like that at the end of the day, we can point to things — such as cars going down the road — and we’re able to say, ‘Our product is in that vehicle. That car looks great. It’s 12 years old!’ It feels good to be doing something tangible.”
Hall says he also likes the fact that the manufacturing field is very process driven and requires collaborative team efforts.
“In that sense, it’s very much like military service was,” he says. “I think about my years in the Army and what I missed about that when I was in legal services, and I got some of that back coming over into the manufacturing space.”
Supporting the Community
Community relations efforts start with strong vision and mission statements, and in Bridgewater’s case, one of their goals is to “live to the ideals of minority business enterprise leadership,” Hall says.
“That doesn’t mean just existing and buffering your bottom line but really trying to show up as a strong corporate citizen in the communities where you operate,” he says.
For instance, his father and his father’s partners started a business venture model that led to revolutionary results. The model entailed going into an inner-city community, building on a greenfield and then training a fresh workforce to deliver world-class products. The idea was a success, and it is an example of Bridgewater’s many contributions to the city of Detroit.
“Being able to continue to do that — continue to employ people in communities that disproportionately have not had some of these opportunities — and to execute at such a high level is very, very gratifying,” Hall says.
In addition to his business pursuits, Hall has served on multiple boards, including Business Leaders for Michigan, the Skillman Foundation, Beaumont Health, Wayne County Airport Authority, Original Equipment Suppliers Association and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.
Hall’s life experiences, energy, creativity, commitment to the community and passion for the manufacturing industry truly make him an Emerging Leader.
The Manufacturing Emerging Leader award is part of the annual Manufacturing Excellence Awards which celebrates the leaders and products that are pushing the industry forward. Learn more about the awards program and gala.