After serving in the Navy, Jim completed a four-year apprenticeship, learning to weld, machine and fabricate one-off tools and parts for prototype and experimental vehicles. He continued his formal education, eventually earning a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Michigan while simultaneously working his way through various leadership positions. Later he became Vice President at start-up Troy Design and Manufacturing Company (TDM). Here he helped lead this start-up to become a successful tier-one, global automotive supplier of engineering services, prototypes, tools, and low-volume parts and assemblies.
After leaving TDM, Dr. Morgan worked for 10 years at Ford Motor Company. For his final eight years he served as Director, Global Body Exterior and SBU Engineering. In this capacity, he and his team contributed to the company’s historic product-led revitalization under then-CEO Alan Mulally.
Jim is currently Senior Advisor and founder of the Lean Product and Process Development initiative at the Lean Enterprise Institute. The LPPD initiative is building a community of practice and research to expand the application and understanding of LPPD. Together with LEI coaches and faculty, Jim works with organizations across diverse industries around the world to improve their product development capability.
Dr. Morgan’s research into product development at the University of Michigan won two Shingo Prizes for Research Excellence. He co-authored (with Dr. Jeffrey Liker) the award-winning book The Toyota Product Development Systemas well as several articles on product development for the Sloan Management Review, The Engineering Management Journal and other publications. He has also developed and taught graduate courses on lean manufacturing and product development.