Issue: Apr 2006


Don Walkowicz Named USCAR Executive Director



by Linda Whichelow

Donald Walkowicz, veteran automotive executive and twice executive director on-loan to the United States Council for Automotive Research was named to the USCAR executive director post by the USCAR Council.

Walkowicz, an automotive management consultant, worked for General Motors Corporation until 2001. He previously served two non-consecutive two-year terms as USCAR's executive director at a time when the position was filled on a rotating basis by each of USCAR's member companies -- DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and GM.

In his first term, as founding executive director in 1992, Walkowicz oversaw the creation of USCAR as a pioneering entity for U.S. auto industry research and development collaboration. During this period, he also participated in negotiations with the Federal Government that led to the creation of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles in 1993. In his second term beginning in 1999, he oversaw USCAR's consortia and continued work with PNGV, which helped to lay the foundation for technologies being applied in the development of today's hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.

"We are very pleased to welcome back Don Walkowicz, as USCAR executive director," said Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, vice president for Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, who serves on the governing three-member USCAR Council with Larry Burns, vice president for GM Research & Development and Strategic Planning, and Mark Chernoby, vice president for DaimlerChrysler Advanced Vehicle Engineering.

"Don's proven technical leadership, solid managerial record and prior USCAR successes make him the right leader to grow USCAR's collaborative research portfolio," Schmidt said, on behalf of the Council. "His demonstrated drive for results and wealth of automotive knowledge will strengthen the many research efforts already underway at USCAR and will allow him to jump start new initiatives."

Walkowicz began his GM career as a mechanical engineering student while attending Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute). Through the years, his assignments included numerous operational, administrative and planning posts as part of the corporate Engineering Staff. In 1988, he became manager, Business and Technology Planning, for the GM Technical Staffs Group. Between USCAR assignments, he served as director, Technology Leveraging and Planning, at GM's Research and Development Center.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University (GMI) and an executive Master of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University.

"I look forward to further expanding the research activities of USCAR and strengthening its role as the premier collaborative organization for U.S. automotive technology development," Walkowicz said. "We want to build on the great partnerships we have with government, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the national laboratories, automotive suppliers and others, as we identify new collaboration opportunities."

USCAR facilitates cooperative research among DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, which share the common goal of strengthening the technology base of the U.S. automotive industry.

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