Terrence Wilson:

An Illuminating


From volunteering in prison ministry to leading a Magna team of 100 to develop and launch new exterior lighting technologies, Terrence Wilson is a beacon of hope and encouragement.

“I am an engineer by trade and a mentor by the sheer nature of my character,” said Wilson, Magna’s director of engineering, for lighting – Americas. “I like to illuminate a better path.”

While Wilson’s automotive credentials are impressive, his work as an author, speaker and mentor are becoming more widely known within the company. He is a member of EDGE, Magna’s race and ethnicity employee resource community, and heads its recruitment and retention committee.

“We are starting to formulate how to attract and recruit people of different ethnicities,” he said. “It’s all about making sure the company’s culture is such that people have an opportunity to grow and succeed.”

Part of that is building awareness, something that Wilson, who has a professorial yet warm demeanor, clearly enjoys. During a recent EDGE virtual meeting, he tutored participants on the history of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the significance of Juneteenth, which was recently recognized as a national holiday in the U.S.

In his prison ministry in the Detroit area, Wilson focuses on men without fathers.

“I tell them wherever you are in life, you need to have a goal,” he said. “Every decision you make should be working toward that goal. I tell them the decisions you make today don’t have to affect the rest of your life. The biggest struggle is getting people to believe ‘you can be better.’ That’s the message.”

Tapping into potential is part of Wilson’s strategy in exterior lighting at Magna.

“Lighting has always been a safety system, and it’s now becoming a premier safety system,” he said. “In the future, with EVs and autonomous vehicles, lighting will be a means of communication. There is a lot of growth in the lighting industry yet to be tapped. Being in exterior lighting is exciting and always changing.”

His full schedule of work and volunteering means that golf lessons and basketball games get put on the back burner. But he never says no to playing with his 7-year-old daughter, Naomi, a second-grader who loves Barbie dolls.

On a recent Microsoft Teams call, Wilson invited Naomi into his home office in Michigan to show virtual visitors her new Barbie ambulance that morphs into an emergency room.

“Yes, I play with Barbie dolls,” Wilson says with a laugh. “The most fun I have is playing with my daughter and her dolls. They take my mind away from other things. Everything I do for fun is with my family.”


Wilson was raised in a single-parent household in Denmark, South Carolina. His mother, Betty Lewis, an advanced math teacher, cultivated a “no-excuses mentality” in her children. Growing up without a father led Wilson to write the book In Search of a Father: Achieving Your Rite of Passage on the Road to Manhood. He also launched Wilstonian Enterprises in 2001, a company that continues to work with churches, grassroots organizations and youth groups to “inspire people to be their best.”