Serve people and impact their lives positively

  • Jon Callies

Jon Callies

North America Motor & Power Mobility Business Unit Lead and President of DENSO Manufacturing North Carolina, Inc.

Profile: Jon earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Tennessee Technological University and his MBA in Operations Management at Vanderbilt University. Jon also worked as a co-op student at a nuclear facility run by DuPont Corporation while in school. After graduation Jon joined DENSO in 1992. Over his 30-career with DENSO, he has served in many different roles, including as a Starter and Alternator Manufacturing Product Design Manager, Senior Manager of Starter and Alternator Manufacturing Production Engineering, Starter and Alternator Manufacturing Director and Vice President of North America Business Unit Lead Electrification. Jon accepted the position of President of DENSO Manufacturing North Carolina, Inc., in 2022. 

DENSO Manufacturing North Carolina

DENSO Manufacturing North Carolina, Inc., operates four sites in North Carolina, Michigan and Texas that I oversee as company President. I am based at the Statesville, North Carolina, location. As the Motor & Power Mobility business unit lead, I work with engineering and sales teams to improve our business portfolio and grow new business areas toward our future goals in North America. 


Work as Vocation – A Higher Calling 

I look at my work as more of a “vocation” with a higher calling to serve people and impact their lives positively, rather than just accomplishing projects or tasks.  Early in my career at DENSO’s Maryville, Tennessee, location, a strong sense of mission was demonstrated by our leadership team that helped form my perspective of work. Our Starter and Alternator production team faced many challenges requiring strong commitment and perseverance to reach our goals.  I learned how a strong sense of mission linked to core values can form bonds that drive high achievement.  It also brings greater meaning and enjoyment out of our work.    

For many of us as leaders, serving others in the workplace starts with creating an environment where people can realize their full potential and see their contribution in reaching our goals. It provides a foundation for forming strong collaborative teams aligned around a common mission. I am personally motivated when I see people breaking down barriers to help each other accomplish something they could only do working together as a team. 

Struggles – Gifts to be Shared 

Our experiences are special gifts that shape each of us in a unique way. I have been fortunate to be part of challenging projects during my career in Maryville and now in Statesville. Many experiences resulted in achievements to be celebrated, while others brought difficulties that required changing direction with a new approach. All of us experience struggles in life and work, and how we support each other along the way are the true measures of growth and maturity.   

When we share a difficult experience with others look at it as a “gift” that can invite people in closer to you and influence their own growth.  It can be done with confidence and from a position of strength rather than weakness, so you will grow too. Work on becoming comfortable sharing gifts of struggles, I have found it opens doors for honest and inspirational conversations.

  •  DENSO Team Members including Jon Callies driving a VIP

    Jon Callies and Chuntao Ye  drive Mr. Toyoda and his wife  through the plant during a tour at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee in 2014.

Courage and Humility – A Good Mix

My leadership journey has landed me on two personal characteristics that form how I approach work, courage to make the tough decisions combined with humility to implement with care.   

Looking at issues in a “cool-headed” manner, removing bias and emotion to let the hard facts tell the story is not easy.  While it provides a first step towards the right direction, I have also found it gives me the needed courage to make those tough decisions. A “warm-hearted” way of implementing is where real success is achieved.  It requires putting yourself in a position of humility as you closely listen to others and look at the impact of your decision from many angles. 


  • Jon Callies and his family

    My wife Cathy and I are celebrating 30 years of marriage this year.  I am blessed with two daughters Chloe and Abby, along with our dog Poppy. I grew up enjoying all kinds of sports, with basketball, baseball and golf being my favorites. At this point in my life, I am enjoying the beautiful outdoor environment living in North Carolina. I recently started taking seminary classes last year towards a future goal of ministering to others after my DENSO career.

Q. What do you like about DENSO?

Seeing the change and growth of DENSO into a truly global company has been amazing. Whether it was launching and growing production in Maryville, working as a design expatriate at DENSO’s global headquarters in Japan or now leading DENSO Manufacturing North Carolina, I have personally seen the “DENSO Spirit” at work. We have grown together through difficult times, whether it be economic downturns, natural disasters, or a global health crisis.  Each time DENSO stayed true to our core values, while taking needed actions to serve our employees, customers, and society at large.

Now is a time of tremendous change in the automotive/mobility industry, and each of us is being asked to define our actions and roles for a successful future. DENSO values the uniqueness of each region, which I feel is a strong point of our company. My mission in North America is to work with our leadership team to build strong businesses and manufacturing capabilities for the next generation. 

Working with Jon:

Chuntao Ye, president of DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Peace of Mind business leader
I have been working with Jon since I joined DENSO in 1992. Through our early career in the Maryville Starter/Alternator group, and recent SSR (South Sub-regional) management, Jon has always been a well-respected leader with his professional knowledge & profound DENSO experience, and excellent management communication skills. His sincerity and calmness have been helping his team to overcome many challenges on our journey. I truly believe that Jon will lead DMNC towards a bright future. I am also very excited to continue working with Jon to make SSR a C.A.S.E. (Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electrified Mobility) Manufacturing Hub at DENSO in North America.