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Buick Discusses Importance of Fathers in Careers of Sculptors and Designers

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Roman (pictured right) has both sons sculpting within GM Design, Robert (pictured left) and brother Daniel.

Robert and Daniel Lys both work within GM Design, and both cite their father as a primary influence
Photo: © General Motors

Father’s Day was this past Sunday, but really, isn’t everyday Father’s Day? To celebrate the occasion, Buick is honoring the men behind some of Buick’s most talented sculptors and designers.

A story over at Buick’s pressroom highlights the stories of the Lys family; Buick director of interior design Liz Wetzel; sculptor Matt Brancheau; and VP of GM Design Ed Welburn, all of whom were influenced in their career direction by their fathers.

“It is most likely that designers are designers because of both environmental and genetic factors,” said Kelly Klump, Ph.D, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “They were genetically given abilities and raised in a family where they get to see firsthand from their parents what they do, what the workday is, and how they get involved.”

GM sculptor Matt Brancheau

GM sculptor Matt Brancheau

Take the story of the brother Lys, both of whom work in sculpting. Their father, Roman, is a master sculptor in Buick’s design studio, and both Robert and Daniel work as sculptors for GM design. Their story is further explored in a wonderful video, also posted by Buick in celebration of Father’s Day.

Wetzel has 30 years of experience at GM Design, and she holds the distinct honor of being the first female design chief in GM history. She’s also a fourth-generation GM employee, and she credits her father Jay as her primary creative and leadership influence. Jay Wetzel was at one time a GM vice president and engineer.

Matt Brancheau, a sculptor who has worked on the Enclave and Avenir, names his father Gary as his primary influence, and Ed Welburn credits his father for helping to determine his career trajectory.

“My father owned an auto body repair shop in Philadelphia and I would draw cars all the time,” said Welburn. When there was no paper around, I would take a book from the bookshelves and I would draw on the first page.

“If it weren’t for the fact that he owned that business, I don’t know that I would have been as interested in cars as I am.”