Tesla taps Apple manufacturing veteran to lead vehicle manufacturing technologies

From Electrek:

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 9.04.50 PM

Tesla seems to be joining many other Silicon Valley companies in hiring employees away from Apple. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, we have discovered that Tesla has made another notable hire from the Cupertino tech giant: Rich Heley. He was hired away from Apple in November and joined Tesla in that same month, according to his LinkedIn profile:

While Heley’s name is not as famous as Field’s or Apple senior executives, his job has been critical to Apple’s success over the past decade. While Apple’s claim to fame has been its integration of hardware, software, and services, manufacturing and design techniques are what allow Apple to produce high-quality devices in mass quantities.

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 9.14.02 PM

Heley has contributed to manufacturing, design, and supply chain management for Apple across several different positions. Most recently, Heley led teams relating to designing new manufacturing techniques (shown above). Also on his LinkedIn, Heley describes his new role at Tesla:

Sr. Director of Manufacturing Technology at Tesla tasked with taking the most advanced car in the world and making it even better. The scope includes advances in Vehicle, Power Train and Battery technologies by conforming the manufacturing process to the best possible design without compromise. Bringing the fit, finish, and materials used to a level unprecedented in the automotive industry as well as continuing to advance the performance and efficiency through advances in manufacturing.

Heley’s experience with developing the techniques and materials used to produce devices such as the iPhone and iPod will be invaluable to Tesla, an electric vehicle company with large ambitions relating to manufacturing, design, and materials, Simultaneously, this is likely a significant departure for Apple, but, in the long run, Apple also likely has several engineers who could replace Heley.

Besides Field and Heley, Tesla has hired multiple designers and engineers from Apple. The most notable Tesla hire besides Field and Heley was George Blankenship in 2010 to run Tesla stores. However, Blankenship has since departed Tesla. Blankenship is former retail executive for both Apple and Gap.

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  1. jefriguan1 - 9 years ago

    yahh ,you very good

  2. hmurchison - 9 years ago

    Everyone is replaceable.

    • TechSHIZZLE.com - 9 years ago

      Sure seems like there’s been an exodus of Apple employees lately…

      • rogifan - 9 years ago

        Exodus? Really? What about all the people they hired (that we know about)? Apple is a huge company, I’m sure this guy was one of many in engineering/ops.

      • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

        Sure seems like there has been a lot of FUD lately.

    • Yiu Yin Yau - 9 years ago

      agree. almost everyone is replaceable.

  3. E Hodges - 9 years ago

    I think they are on loan and apples quietly getting into the auto business

    • rahhbriley - 9 years ago

      Oh if only if only. We can all dream right? In this same dream, they buy Nest as well.

      Good for him. I’m sure at some point these engineers may feel like they’ve contributed about as much as they uniquely can at a company, and desire a new challenge. It’s understandable why a company like Tesla would be so attractive to those who have grown up at Apple. A loss for Apple surely, but they know how to find great talent, they’ll be okay.

  4. Christopher Armenia - 9 years ago

    I wish Apple would buy Tesla and make Elon Musk CEO. Tesla has the potential to do to the automotive industry what Apple did to the music, phones, and tablet/computers. Tim Cook has done great things as CEO, but the market is saturated. Making the same devices a little thinner and a little faster each year is not enough in the long term to keep the edge. Apple is what it is today because of the exciting new products it created. Things that had never been done before. Someone like Elon is what Apple needs to jumpstart innovation in the post-Steve era. Anytime I go into a Tesla store and sit in the Model S, I can’t help but feel like the wrong logo is on the steering wheel.

    • rahhbriley - 9 years ago

      I think I get your sentiment, and I’m not staying someone like Elon wouldn’t be a great addition to Apple, but let’s not forget that great products aren’t the only thing that has made Apple, the Apple it has been the last 10 years…it has been those great products combined with the most advanced manufacturing, supply chain, and financial prowess ontthe planet, of which, Tim Cook was greatly responsible. He was chosen by Steve for a reason….they need more people that have great product visions, and Jony Ive is great, but they need more, I won’t argue that. But it doesn’t have to be the CEO. Tim does many things better than Steve.

      But let’s not look at Steve’s record with love goggles on. He had years where people bemoaned that innovation was slow, or that they made product trade offs (iPhone was full of them). I believe this last year was a good and necessary year of product upgrades. They are still likely following a product road map Steve could have easily been apart of planning. We are just beginning to see the Tim/Johny partnership emerge I believe. I think a lot of people have unrealistic expectations of how often Apple should be releasing a new product. They build them as needed, and as their time, focus, an resources allow. You wouldn’t want them becoming Samsung would you? Paitence grasshopper. Apple got where it is by careful planning, meticulous decisions, and a steady pace. I believe it would be much more damaging for them to be trying to sprint towards delivering something just to quite people that are scared about future products because Steve is dead. All in due time, they are just beginning to hit their stride without him I believe.

      • Christopher Armenia - 9 years ago

        Oh yeah , I agree. My earlier comment reads a little more negatively than I meant it to. I think Apple is in a great position and still has plenty up its sleeves for us in time. I would just love to see the integration of these two companies and what that could bring in the future. I think Tesla has the potential to be a game changer, much like Apple 10 years ago.

    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

      I wish Apple would contract with Tesla to be the software provider for their vehicles and that morons would shut up about replacing Tim Cook.

  5. Robert Stoddard - 9 years ago

    Further confirming the pundit’s POV that the Model S is the greatest (and most expensive) iPad carrying case ever. :-)