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Vinnie Johnson

April 3, 2023

Founder & Chairman, Piston Group, LLC

Vinnie Johnson first became a household name as the integral 6th man on the Detroit Pistons basketball team during their infamous Motor City Bad Boys era. Known as “The Microwave” throughout the league, Vinnie helped lead the Pistons to consecutive NBA championship titles in 1989 and 1990. After retiring from the NBA, Vinnie returned to Detroit to take on his next challenge, establishing the Piston Group in 1995.

Comprised of Piston Automotive, Irvin, Detroit Thermal Systems and A. Lava, Piston Group manufactures a variety of automotive modules and assemblies, expert-crafted interior fabrics and accessories, and high-quality climate control systems and components for major international automotive companies including Ford Motor Company and GM. Under Vinnie’s leadership, Piston Group has achieved sales of more than $2.8 billion and launched successful joint ventures with industry-leading firms such as Lear Corporation, Continental Teves, and Sachs Automotive. Piston Group has expanded from a single facility in Detroit to multiple locations across the Midwest including Michigan, Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky.

Vinnie’s commitment to giving back to the city that defined his career during his time in the NBA and after is demonstrated through his many philanthropic and charitable endeavors. He actively supports many local community organizations including Alternatives for Girls, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Focus: HOPE and Habitat for Humanity. In 2010, he established the Vinnie Johnson Foundation, a charitable organization focused on supporting educational opportunities for the children of Detroit.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Vinnie attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he majored in physical education. He currently serves as a member of the Detroit Regional CEO Group, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, Detroit Regional Chamber and the Detroit Economic Club.