Member Bios

Mr. Michael Adams

Michael is a freshman from Andover, Massachusetts planning to double major in history and business administration. He’s loved General Motors and Cadillac in particular for as long as he can remember. He looks forward to learning about the industry, and to visiting Detroit for the first time.

Mr. Thomas Barnett

Thomas is a sophomore double-major in Economics and in History from Mobile, Alabama. He’s long been interested in the industry thanks to the presence of Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Hyundai, Honda assembly plants and many parts firms in Alabama. His father has worked with many of these factories as a labor recruiter. At W&L he’s active in the Venture Club (for entrepreneurs), the General Development Initiative and is a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity.

Mr. William (Will) Brewster

Will is a sophomore from Birmingham, Alabama double majoring in Global Politics and European History. A Mercedes plant is close to his house, so he’s always had an interest in fully understanding how the industry works and its impact on the global market. He plays varsity football and (recreationally) basketball and tennis. He is fascinated by politics, and enjoys fishing and the outdoors.

Mr. Austin Crane

Austin is a sophomore Econ major from New Canaan, CT. He finds studying the industry intriguing as a real-world topic. He is on W&L’s baseball team, and also likes to play basketball and go bowling.

Mr. Nathan (Nate) Frank

Nate a sophomore a Business Administration major and Environmental Studies minor, grew up just outside of Philadelphia in Ardmore, He played varsity tennis last year but this year only played recreationally. He is interested in the business side of the auto industry.

Mr. Graham Helgans

Graham is a sophomore from Darien, Connecticut studying Business and Accounting. He’s interested in the auto industry because many family members work in it, including an uncle who is a tax attorney for Ford and another uncle who works in technology for BMW. Graham however aspires to work in banking. He likes to play soccer and lacrosse.

Mr. David Hochstadt

David is a sophomore majors are Spanish and Economics from the suburbs of Chicago. He’s interested in the Great Recession, including the restructuring of the auto industry. He likes golf and ultimate frisbee, volunteers with the Campus Kitchen that repurposes food for local food bank and others, and tutors ESL at local high schools. At present he is contemplating a career in finance.

Ms. Allison (Murray) Manley

Murray is a sophomore from Birmingham, AL majoring in Economics and minoring in Creative Writing. She lives near the Mercedes plant, and while she claims ignorance, she is excited to learn about the industry. In the long run she is interested in finance or consulting, plays the piano, likes art, and used to run track and cross country.

Ms. Elizabeth (Lizz) Platt

Lizz is a senior economics major with a minor in environmental studies from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her interest in the auto industry is based on discussions in various classes in both economics and environmental studies. She is a member of the Women’s Swim Team and the General’s Christian Fellowship, and from the fall will study environmental law at the American University Washington College of Law.

Mr. Henry Schwartz

Henry is a freshman from from Clinton, New Jersey who plans on majoring in Economics and Physics-Engineering with a Math minor. He is interested in working in either the automotive industry or investment banking. At W&L he’s on the rugby team, is the treasurer of the Engineers without Borders club, and consider himself to be somewhat of a car guy.

Mr. Samuel (Sam) Siegel

Sam is a sophomore majoring in Economics with minors in mathematics and in philosophy. He likes to play basketball and hike. Word of mouth from course alumni have led him to study the auto industry this term.

Mr. Michael (Mike) Smitka

Our professor attended Detroit public schools, then Harvard, and after a stint of living in Japan and working in international banking in New York obtained a PhD in economics from Yale. He has taught economics at W&L since 1986, including courses for the East Asian Studies program. He has lived a cumulative 7 years in Japan, including under two Fulbright fellowships, and has spent shorter periods in Korea, China, the Philippines and Germany. In college he worked summers in a Chrysler stamping plant, but otherwise did not come from a “car” family. However he used data on automotive parts suppliers for his dissertation (and later book) on interfirm contracting in Japan, and over the past decade has shifted his research focus from the Japanese economy to things automotive. He has been a judge of the Automotive News PACE awards for the past 22 years, for which he has visited suppliers in Asia, North America and Europe, and is on the steering committee of GERPISA, an international network of academics who do research on the auto industry. Outside activities include choral singing and babysitting a granddaughter. He blogs at Autos and Economics on blogspot.

Mr. Barrett Snyder

Barrett Snyder is a first-year freshman from the rural Salado, Texas. Cars run in his family. My father had a love for cars from a very young age. His grandfather bought him a 1960 El Camino when he was 13, and over the next year he swapped into it a 454 Oldsmobile block from a wrecked family car. His extended family now runs Snyder’s Recycled Auto and Truck Parts, one of the largest independent auto-recyclers in the state of Texas, along with the related Enterprise Recycling where customers pull their own parts. They collectively own several Ford Special Vehicle Team cars, including Barrett’s personal ’99 Ford Lightning, supercharged to produce 460 hp for use in drag racing. He plans to join the family business after graduation, and at W&L is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Mr. Samuel (Sam) Wilson

Sam is a junior econ major with a minor in mathematics, born and raised in Charlotte, NC. He plays varsity football at W&L. While his family has no connections to the industry, he’s always loved cars and so is eager to learn more about the industry.

Mr. Chase Wonderlic

Chase Wonderlic is a sophomore from the northern suburbs of Chicago who is majoring in Economics with minors in Philosophy and in Classics. He’s passionate about traveling, hiking, and all things basketball, though football runs in his family, as his great grandfather developed the Wonderlic Test still used at the NFL Combine. He’s looking forward to visiting Detroit for the first time.