It’s not often that I get to meet folks who are great with KNOWING how great they are. When I first started blogging, I found myself at all types of events with all types of people, and one July night in 2013, I found myself in the same room as Edward T. Welburn, the Vice President of Global Design for General Motors. What’s even SADDER is that my cousin Donovan (at six years of age when he told me) knew about him, and about went crazy when he found out I had met him before. IT TOOK A SIX-YEAR-OLD TO SET ME STRAIGHT!
With the Chicago Auto Show taking place this week, we feel it’s only right to highlight the first Black VP of Global Design for General Motors. He no longer holds this position, but being the first has its merits, doesn’t it?
Since the Chicago Auto Show is in high gear at the moment, seriously have you gotten your tickets yet, it’s only right that we feature a prominent Black person from the automobile industry. And since we used to drive a Chevrolet Traverse a couple of years ago, it’s ONLY right that the person is a former Vice President over the auto manufacturer who produced our beloved vehicle.
Here’s a little about Mr. Welburn, according to his Wiki link, who happens to be retired from General Motors, but in true automobile lover fashion, he can’t really leave it alone.
Edward T. Welburn is an automobile designer and was General Motors’ Vice President of Global Design from 2003 to 2016.
To date, he has held the highest-ranking position as an African American in the automotive industry. He has overseen the development of recent GM products, such as the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, Cadillac CTS, Buick Enclave. and Chevrolet Malibu – the car we went to celebrate during the Chevy Urban Style Event in Chicago in 2013. The new Impala (RIP) was also introduced and we took turns posing in it.
Recent concepts overseen by Welburn include the Cadillac Converj (ELR), Cadillac CTS Coupe, Chevrolet Camaro Coupe, Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, and the Buick Invicta Concept.
A native of Philadelphia, Welburn was born on December 14, 1950. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1972 from the College of Fine Arts at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he studied sculpture and product design. He joined GM at the age of 21,[ and since 2003 has held the same position at General Motors that Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell once held. He has a cameo role in the film Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Welburn was the lead GM designer on the Chaparral 2X Vision GT, a concept car designed for the video game Gran Turismo 6.[ The car features a 4-wheel steer and active aerodynamics, claimed to be similar to a wingsuit, and was made available in December 2014.
In 2016, he announced his retirement from General Motors after 44 years