Mike Goss, a vice president of external affairs and communications for Toyota, talks to students about some of his job responsibilities.


Mike Goss said he wasn’t ambitious enough in college to see himself moving up to his position in a corporate company, which is why students should take advantage of their education. No one knows exactly where their careers are headed in the future.

“I never dreamed of corporate PR,” Goss said.

Goss, vice president of external affairs and communications of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing of America, works from his office in Erlanger most of the time where he is in charge of the company’s media and public relations.

Goss had recently been promoted to the position after serving as a general manager since 2010 and working for TEMA since 2003. Goss has worked for Toyota in some respects since 1998. Before working for Toyota, he worked as a journalist at numerous newspapers around Kentucky.

Melissa Newman, a professor in the communications department, asked him to come speak to her classes because the two had known each other from attending Union College, she said.

Goss began by providing background information about TEMA and some of the company’s numbers. Goss said TEMA has more than 40,000 employees and manufactures some vehicle models. The Avalon, Venza and Camry are all manufactured in Georgetown and Lexus is beginning manufacturing in Kentucky soon, he said. Spare parts are also made in Louisville, according to Goss.

“Most of what we make here is sold here,” Goss said.

Goss said in recent years, the company has been working on restoring its reputation after a recall and concerns about Toyota vehicles’ safety. He said Toyota is constantly trying to improve itself and grow its reputation for customer service.

“We’re going to move on and take care of our customers,” Goss said.

Part of gaining customer approval is also gaining trust, Goss said, so the company did a study on the factors that make a car company trustworthy: safe vehicles, innovativeness, the company’s unselfishness and care for customers.

Toyota created TSSC, or Toyota Production System Support Center, Inc., which is geared towards sharing their business knowledge with other small businesses and nonprofit organizations. For instance, TSSC worked with a New York City food bank to make packing food more time and space efficient so more food could be brought to Super Storm Sandy victims.

TSSC, Goss said, has raised customer approval rates because it’s not always just about the quality of the products the company sells. A respectable company is also philanthropic, he said.

Goss also talked about what his company looks for in employees. He referred to the hiring requirements in two different categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills include being able to solve problems, communication skills and strategic planning. Soft skills include being well read, inquisitive, tough-minded, team-oriented and having creativity and passion for the job.