By Dennis Seid
BLUE SPRINGS – Doug Formby, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi’s vice president of production control and administration, is retiring after a 33-year career with the Japanese automaker.
Formby, 57, announced his retirement to the plant’s 2,000 employees last Friday, saying he was ready to spend more time with his family in southern California.
“I will leave behind many good friendships established in Mississippi and across North America over the past 33 years,” he wrote in an email. I feel truly honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to finish my career here in Northeast Mississippi. It’s been wonderful to be ‘back in the South’ – only two hours away from my birthplace and extended family in Birmingham. Toyota really saved the best for last!”
Formby, who officially took the reins at TMMMS in December, said he is “committed to finish the job strong.”
He replaced David Copenhaver, the first VP of administration at the plant, which produced its first car in October 2011. Copenhaver retired and lives in Tupelo with his wife.
Toyota has not officially announced a replacement for Formby.
Formby spent most of his career on the sales and logistics side of the auto industry, but the last eight years were on the manufacturing side. Before coming to Toyota Mississippi, he was general manager of production control at Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America in Erlanger, Ky., and Toyota’s North American Production Control Center in Georgetown, Ky. Before that, he was general manager at Toyota’s assembly plant in Princeton, Ind.
While at TMMMS, he led its transition to assembling the new 11th-generation Corolla. The plant is on track to build 160,000 vehicles this year.
“I would have loved to have stayed a few more years, but there comes a time when you have to sit back and look at what’s ahead of you,” Formby said.
Getting closer to their kids and grandkids was the overwhelming reason to move, he said.
After a long career in the auto industry, Formby said he’s ready to take some time off, especially having spent some 1,800 days on the road during his career.
“I might ease back into something down the road,” he said, indicating consulting work as a distinct possibility.