Leading by Example

5/1/2018

Spring/Summer 2018

2017 Indiana Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year Tom Easterday’s commitment to a team approach, quality and the environment has taken Subaru of Indiana Automotive to new heights.

From major environmental achievements to business breakthroughs, Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) has made enormous advancements over the last two decades. The home of Subaru production in North America, SIA is where the Outback, Legacy, Impreza and, now, Ascent are made. Though his inherently humble nature prevents him from taking too much credit, many of these milestones have been reached under SIA Senior Executive Vice President, Secretary and Chief Legal Officer Tom Easterday. Long recognized by those who know him as a leader of the highest caliber, Easterday was named the 2017 Indiana Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year.

Tom Easterday
Tom Easterday. Photo courtesy of
Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.

“Even though I received the award, it takes a great team to win and achieve the things we have,” says Easterday. “I look at it as recognition of all of the associates at SIA.” Indeed, the 5,700 team members at the facility have accomplished much – its accolades for quality, environmental stewardship and business and community are too numerous to mention in this space. 

One of the chamber’s primary reasons for choosing Easterday is the facility’s impressive recent growth. The plant’s production volume has more than tripled in the last 10 years. Since SIA began production in September of 1989, it has turned out more than 5 million vehicles, and, since 2012, it has hired 1,800 new associates. This year, to support the Ascent, SIA plans to hire 200 more employees and invest more than $140 million.

SIA’s dedication to environmental stewardship has also made it a model for manufacturing facilities around the world. In 2003, it became the country’s first auto assembly plant to be designated a Backyard Wildlife Habitat™ by the National Wildlife Federation™. The following year, it achieved coveted “zero-landfill” status for its 832-acre imprint. “I always tell people, ‘If you went to a coffee shop today and threw your cup away, you put more in a landfill than we have in 14 years,’” says Easterday.

The prestigious 2017 award carries Tom Easterday’s name, but he again emphasizes that, for him, winning at SIA is defined by a genuine group effort – one facilitated by his deep dedication to open communication. “Good business consists of listening to the associates you work with, making sure their ideas are utilized to be successful as a team and making sure you give back to your community, state and country,” he says. “Just a company being successful doesn’t mean much to society. When that company gives back, then it has real meaning.”