Wil Cooksey was named manager of the world’s only Corvette plant in February of 1993. As a lifelong fan of the car, it was a dream job come true.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Cooksey received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Tennessee State University in 1965. He earned a Master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Toledo in 1972 and completed post graduate work in mechanical engineering at Michigan State University.
A Distinguished Graduate of the Officer’s Training School, Cooksey served as an executive officer in the U.S. Army Artillery, 1st Lieutenant. His last assignment was a year in Vietnam. For his efforts while in Vietnam, he was awarded the bronze medal.
Cooksey’s General Motors career is the epitome of achievement beginning with his first job as an assistant professor in industrial engineering at GMI in Flint, Michigan. In 1976 he transferred to the St. Louis plant where he held several positions before being transferred to the Doraville plant in Atlanta. After working at various superintendent positions at Doraville, he was named the production manager at the Fairfax plant, the position he held until his current assignment.
Cooksey takes an active role in the community. He currently serves on the boards of the United Way of Bowling Green, First American Bank, Greenview Hospital, the Kentucky Museum, Western Kentucky University School of Business Advisory Board, Drug Abuse Resistance Education Advisory Council and Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering Executive Advisory Board.
In 1997 Cooksey received the “Black Engineer of the Year President’s Award.” Also in 1997, Austin Peay University named him “Achiever of the Year” in their Focus Program. This year Cooksey received a Presidential Citation from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education in recognition of exemplary experience that honors Tennessee State University. Dollars & Sense Magazine honored Cooksey in their 1998 “Salute to America’s Best & Brightest Business and Professional Men and Women.” Cooksey is featured on the cover of African Americans on Wheels magazine as they named the Corvette the “Best Urban Car of the Year.” He has been honored as an Outstanding Graduate of Tennessee State and named a “Black Achiever in the Industry” by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In his free time, Cooksey likes excitement. His hobbies include drag racing and flying airplanes. He resides in Bowling Green with his wife, Elizabeth, a teacher at Western Kentucky University. They have two children, David and Crissy.
Wil’s passion is working on and racing his Corvette race car.