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Tesla taps another Apple manufacturing veteran to lead vehicle manufacturing technologies

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Tesla seems to be joining many other Silicon Valley companies in hiring employees away from Apple. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, we have discovered that Tesla has made another notable hire from the Cupertino tech giant: Rich Heley. He was hired away from Apple in November and joined Tesla in that same month, according to his LinkedIn profile:

While Heley’s name is not as famous as Field’s or Apple senior executives, his job has been critical to Apple’s success over the past decade. While Apple’s claim to fame has been its integration of hardware, software, and services, manufacturing and design techniques are what allow Apple to produce high-quality devices in mass quantities.

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Heley has contributed to manufacturing, design, and supply chain management for Apple across several different positions. Most recently, Heley led teams relating to designing new manufacturing techniques (shown above). Also on his LinkedIn, Heley describes his new role at Tesla:

Sr. Director of Manufacturing Technology at Tesla tasked with taking the most advanced car in the world and making it even better. The scope includes advances in Vehicle, Power Train and Battery technologies by conforming the manufacturing process to the best possible design without compromise. Bringing the fit, finish, and materials used to a level unprecedented in the automotive industry as well as continuing to advance the performance and efficiency through advances in manufacturing.

Heley’s experience with developing the techniques and materials used to produce devices such as the iPhone and iPod will be invaluable to Tesla, an electric vehicle company with large ambitions relating to manufacturing, design, and materials, Simultaneously, this is likely a significant departure for Apple, but, in the long run, Apple also likely has several engineers who could replace Heley.

Besides Field and Heley, Tesla has hired multiple designers and engineers from Apple. The most notable Tesla hire besides Field and Heley was George Blankenship in 2010 to run Tesla stores. However, Blankenship has since departed Tesla. Blankenship is former retail executive for both Apple and Gap.

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