Wilbert W. (Wil) James will be the keynote speaker at The Urban League of Hampton Roads 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders’ Breakfast Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, 7:30 a.m., at Norfolk State University’s Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall. The breakfast, created to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., recognizes and presents awards to those dedicated to community service/volunteerism, education, employment, health and housing.
A Norfolk native, James, who became the seventh president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. in July 2010, leads Toyota’s largest automotive manufacturing plant in North America. The plant manufactures the Camry, America’s best-selling car, and is expected to become the home of the first U.S.-produced Lexus. In this role, James also champions quality initiatives for Toyota’s 14 North American manufacturing operations.
James began his career with Toyota in 1987, supervising a team of about 20 people. He has since served the company in multiple leadership roles, including senior vice president of Toyota’s vehicle plant in Indiana, president of the automaker’s Long Beach, California, subsidiary plant, and vice president of manufacturing at Toyota Kentucky.
James has been named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America. While serving as Toyota’s North American diversity champion, he led diversity and inclusion efforts for the company in plants across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, which directly employ more than 40,000 people.
Begun in 1984, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders’ awards are presented to individuals or groups who promote positive images, exemplify community service, demonstrate the values that model those of Dr. King and show evidence of the impact their contributions make in the lives of others. This Urban League of Hampton Roads signature event is also co-sponsored by Eastern Virginia Medical School, Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College.