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Team NEO celebrates 20 years by touting the future of electric vehicle production in Northeast Ohio

photo of robert schlaeger deputy product officer at foxconn giving at speech in Cleveland
Jeff St. Clair
Robert Schlaeger, deputy chief product officer at Foxconn, said the world's largest electronic technology manufacturer chose Northeast Ohio to build its first line of electric vehicles in part because of the region's experienced workforce.

Team NEO, an economic development organization focusing on Northeast Ohio, this week marked 20 years of advocating for the region’s business community.

The group featured Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn at its annual celebration.

Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler singled out semiconductors and electric vehicles as key industries for the region.

Koehler hopes to attract a chip plant here, similar to Intel’s $20 billion investment in Central Ohio.

He also wants Northeast Ohio’s history of auto making to survive the rapid growth of electric cars.

“We need to protect what we have by making sure that we are embracing the technological change,” Koehler said.

Foxconn deputy chief product officer Robert Schlaeger said that legacy was one reason the company chose to build its first cars here.

“It was the people who are now Foxconn employees with their years of collective automotive industry experience that sealed the deal,” said Schlaeger.

Foxconn is building an electric tractor for California-based Monarch, and two separate SUV models, one for Fisker and another for IndiEV, at the former GM plant in Lordstown.

Schlaeger, however, would not say whether Foxconn willcontinue to bail out Lordstown Motor Company's troubled Endurance electric pickupmodel. Schlaeger said Foxconn will announce details of that relationship at this week’s earnings call.