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Top Toyota executive from Hagerstown honored by EDC

May 02, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

When David W. Danzer was growing up in Hagerstown in the 1960s, it was cool to hop in your '55 Chevy and drive to Ocean City.

Cars have changed a lot, said Danzer, who is now a top executive for Toyota.

Radios were replaced by compact disc players. Soon, CDs will be replaced by Internet connections that not only download music but also your e-mail, movies and directions to detour an accident scene, he said.

The car of the future will be equipped to stop teenagers from speeding and alert parents when the car strays too far from home.

"We would have loved that when I was growing up," Danzer said with sarcasm.

Danzer spoke to about 120 guests at Fountain Head Country Club in Hagerstown on Monday night at the 2000 Celebration of Business.

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The event was organized by the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission to thank the local business and industrial community. Existing businesses create 70 percent of all the new jobs in the community, said Executive Director John Howard.

Business leaders asked Danzer what it would take to bring a Toyota manufacturing plant to Washington County.

Tax incentives, as well as other factors, weigh into the company's site location decisions, he said.

Danzer didn't make any promises, but said he would tell Toyota's owners in Japan, who love golf, that the area is highly rated as a golf destination.

"You have a lot to be proud of," he said.

Danzer, who lives in Los Angeles, reminisced about growing up in Hagerstown, which hasn't changed much, he said.

After graduating from North Hagerstown High School, Danzer went to Virginia Tech, where he got a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.

He worked for the Chevrolet division of General Motors Corp. for 15 years and has worked for Toyota for 16 years. As group vice president of corporate planning, Danzer's responsibilities include product development, pricing, sales, planning, market research, strategic planning and business planning for Toyota and Lexus.

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