Martin “Marty” Deschenes: Working Together as One DENSO Team

  • Marty Deschenes

Leader, North America South Sub-Region Manufacturing & President, DENSO Manufacturing Athens Tennessee, Inc.

Profile:  Marty earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Auburn University through a United States Army ROTC scholarship. After serving on active duty from 1988 to 1993, Marty began his manufacturing career working for an electronic contract manufacturer. He joined DENSO’s manufacturing facility in Maryville, Tennessee, in 1994. During nearly 30 years with DENSO, Marty has served in many different roles, including Electronics Manufacturing Production Team Leader and Manager, Electronics Manufacturing Production Engineering Manager and Sr. Manager, and various executive positions across Electronics, Starter/Alternator, EHV and Powertrain Business Units. In 2019, he began serving as President of DENSO’s Athens facility. He was named South Sub-Region Manufacturing Leader in 2023. 


DENSO’s Athens location includes three production facilities that manufacture a range of powertrain, thermal and electronic products for global automakers, supporting their transition to greener and safer mobility. The South Sub-Region consists of the Athens site, as well as DENSO manufacturing facilities in Maryville, Tennessee, and Statesville, North Carolina.


We‘re One Team

My perspective on what defines my team has evolved over the years. Early in my career, my “first team” was the team I led. I was focused inward on my team’s goals with less concern for the teams around me. As I grew to manage larger teams, I continued to focus on the larger team I led – “my team.”

Mid-career, I was challenged by a wise coach to reconsider my “first team.” The team I led could not truly “win” on its own. We only win through our collective efforts across teams. I recognized that my team existed to contribute to the larger goal and that my true “first team” was my peers who led other teams critical to our combined success. This mindset shift started my journey of connecting with my peers across functional and business units to understand what we must do together to succeed as one team.
Since then, I have focused much of my work efforts on connecting and aligning teams to accomplish what they could not do alone. To change “my challenges” and “their challenges” to “our challenges” and solve them together.


  • Marty Deschenes in mask

Adversity Happens – Lead Together

When COVID-19 struck and turned the entire world upside down, I had been President of the Athens location for a very short time. There was tremendous pressure on every DENSO site leader to figure out how to deal with the challenges that came with a global pandemic, something none of us had ever seen in our lifetime. We were tasked with finding the appropriate way to balance health and morale and caring for our people and customers.

During this time, DENSO manufacturing leaders established a communication channel that had not previously existed. We started a daily video call to share our experiences, find solutions, and, on many occasions, blow off steam from the stress of leading a manufacturing site through a natural disaster.

We met daily for many months. Through this event, we built even stronger relationships with each other. To this day, there is still a weekly manufacturing leaders meeting. Though the topics of conversation are less severe, we still utilize the time together to share ideas and give feedback to one another.

A valuable lesson I took away from that challenging period is that in times of great adversity and stress, connecting and communicating with my peer team strengthened my resiliency and tenacity and built better solutions for our combined teams.


  • People in Manufacturing environment

Break the Silo

Silo thinking is something we all struggle with in some way. It’s important as leaders to shift our thinking from my team to our team. If we are silo thinking, we are only identifying the individual solutions that benefit ourselves, leading to the same problems being solved over and over again across our company – very inefficient!

If we can work together and think widely, we will consider holistic and scalable solutions that not only solve our own problems but also add value to DENSO as a whole.

Q. How do you want to contribute to society through your work at DENSO?

As a manufacturing leader, I recognize that every day, people from all walks of life come to DENSO to work. That work enables them to earn a living and provide for those they care about: spouses, children, parents, and friends.

  • Marty's Family

Each associate’s hard work individually helps the person next to them on the line or anywhere else within the company to also earn a living. Our common success means everyone has an opportunity to earn a living and care for their loved ones.

Success also leads to a thriving economy where our team members work and live. That provides others in the community the opportunity to take care of their families as well.

My mission is to work with our teams to grow sustainable manufacturing facilities across North America. This allows people to work, care for themselves, and build healthy and vibrant communities. That passion inspires me to show up and work hard every day.


  • Dave Grimmer

Working with Marty:

Dave Grimmer, North America Production Innovation Center Division Head / Senior Vice President of DENSO International America, Inc.

“Marty and I have worked together for several years. However, in the past two to three years, we have strategically and frequently worked together to strengthen our manufacturing foundation and promote our advanced monozukuri solutions. Marty is a high-value executive who is both passionate and skilled to propel DENSO North America manufacturing to the next level. I have great respect for Marty’s broad thinking, passion for people (including their development), and emotional intelligence. I am honored to partner with him on our journey towards excellence.”