The Detroit Economic Club presented a conversation with CEO and President of Flex-N-Gate, Shahid Khan. It was streamed live from the Masonic Temple by Detroit Public TV on Tuesday, November 19.

The automotive industry for generations has been the signature characteristic of U.S. manufacturing and was once generally accepted as the foundation of Middle Class America. Shahid Khan arrived in the U.S. more than 50 years ago with aspirations of the very middle class life that defined the American Dream, and would eventually become CEO and President of Flex-N-Gate, one of the world’s top automotive OEM’s.

Today, Mr. Khan dreams of a rebirth of the middle class that others may enjoy. To that end, he has made Detroit central to his mission by building and opening a high-tech plant in a blighted urban neighborhood designed to meet the demands of U.S. carmakers while creating new jobs and breaking the cycle of poverty experienced by many city residents.

Khan shared his views on why Detroit, why now, and why a strong middle class should be a priority for all.



Shahid Khan, described in a Forbes cover story as the “New Face of the American Dream” and later by the magazine as one of the world’s 100 greatest living business minds, is owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League, Fulham Football Club of the English Football League, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto and Flex-N-Gate, one of the world’s premier original automotive equipment suppliers.

A naturalized U.S. citizen, Khan arrived from Pakistan in 1967 at age 16 to study at the University of Illinois. With a B.S. in industrial engineering in 1971, he quickly ascended to engineering manager at Flex-N-Gate. In 1978, Khan left and with $13,000 in savings and $50,000 from the Small Business Loan Corporation, he created the start-up Bumper Works, which revolutionized manufacturing through an innovative one-piece bumper design that remains the industry standard. He later returned to purchase Flex-N-Gate and lead the company into its current global leadership position.

In the hyper-competitive automotive parts industry, Flex-N-Gate was recently ranked by Automotive News as the seventh largest original equipment supplier in North America, the 46th largest supplier in Europe and the 33rd largest supplier in the world.

Flex-N-Gate employs more than 23,000 people at 66 manufacturing facilities and nine product development and engineering facilities throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France and Spain. Flex-N-Gate’s major product lines include complete bumper assemblies, mechanical assemblies, exterior plastic trim, aluminum and steel modular stamped body-in-white and chassis assemblies, and complex welded structural assemblies for the light vehicle market.

Learn more at the Detroit Economic Club‘s website.