Below is a letter Wil wrote for the January 11, 2008 edition of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant's Performance Press:

Friends,

As a young man serving in Vietnam, I was surrounded by loss and despair. It was at this time of refl ection in my life when I made a promise to myself, “If I make it out of here alive, I will not settle for average any longer. I will set my sights high and strive for the best.”

Unlike many friends of mine, I made it home and found the opportunity to live out my promise. Having studied car magazines to bide time during the war, my love for Corvettes had grown even deeper. When my feet returned to American soil, my fi rst major purchase was a 1969 Black Corvette. When I had the chance to interview with General Motors, I jumped at it thinking maybe, just maybe, somewhere down the road I could work with Corvettes. As I began in the manufacturing world, my dream was clear…..to one day manage the Corvette Plant.

One thing led to the next, and after 20 years with the company, my fantasy finally became reality.

The last 15 years at Bowling Green Assembly have been more than what I ever envisioned. As the days and years unfolded, I continued to find myself in a job I loved, surrounded by good, hard-working, kind people. What more can you ask for? Yes, there have been challenges and rough times as we faced diffi cult decisions and embraced change. But I found that when you work together and do the right thing, the sky is the limit. No words can describe my appreciation and adoration for the employees of Bowling Green Assembly. Thank you in advance for the many happy moments I will have in retirement as I think back and share stories on all of the fun and laughs I’ve had here. I’ve been asked many times why I never left Bowling Green Assembly and moved on with my career. The answer is simple. I was in love with the car when I came here, and it took only minutes to fall in love with the people. Enough said.

To Corvette fans near and far, I’m still here. I assumed the role of Chairman of the Board for the National Corvette Museum on January 1, and I look forward to working closely with the Museum to continuously improve their Corvette offerings. And look for me in the crowds at Corvette events across the U.S. You can’t miss me; look for the big guy in the back with his hand raised, asking the most questions. It’s true; once Corvette is in your blood, it remains there for a lifetime.

I leave Bowling Green Assembly with a hopeful heart, and I’m confident that my successor, Paul Graham, and each of you will work hard to keep this plant moving in the right direction. I look for your continued success for many years to come.

As you continue to place more and more dreams on the road all over the world, remember the sign that hangs at our entrance, “Through these doors walk the finest auto builders in the world.”

May the legend live on in each of you,

Wil Cooksey,



Plant Manager
Bowling Green Assembly
February 1993 - March 2008