By Randy Singleton
Community Affairs Correspondent
New Journal and Guide
Wilbert W. James, a Norfolk native and the seventh president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., since 2010, was the keynote speaker at the Urban League of Hampton Roads 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Community Leaders’ Breakfast Monday, January 18, 2016 at Norfolk State University’s Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall.
A capacity audience filled the arena to celebrate the holiday named after the slain civil rights leader and to welcome the hometown man who leads Toyota’s largest automotive plant in North America. James delivered an inspiring and thoughtful message. He spoke on the theme: “What is your blueprint?” This was a reference to his management style at the Toyota plant which has led him to be named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.
The breakfast honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and recognizes those dedicated to community service/volunteerism, education, employment, health and housing. The 2016 honorees were James Church, Sharon Durrette-Hunt, Dr. Ashby Kilgore, Dr. Avi Santo and Bruce Thompson.