GM’s Gerald Johnson Wins Black Engineer of the Year Award
The annual BEYA STEM Conference promotes diversity and provides networking opportunities for professionals, students, and educators. For 2021, this conference is honoring General Motors Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing Gerald Johnson with the Black Engineer of the Year award.
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Why did Johnson earn this award?
At 24 years old, Johnson became the youngest superintendent ever at GM’s Fisher Body Stamping Plant. In 2002, he was the first African American to be the plant manager of Mansfield Plant Stamping Operations. And, in 2006, he was the first African American to be the executive director of Manufacturing for GM Europe.
Now, as the Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing, Johnson works to ensure that GM employees perform safe and quality work. He is responsible for 103,000 employees across 129 manufacturing facilities in 16 different countries. He has also been integral to making GM’s diversity and inclusion initiatives successful while serving as a member of the Inclusion Advisory Board.
During 2020, Johnson played a key role in developing GM’s COVID-19 response. At the start of the pandemic, he helped transfer engineering and manufacturing resources from vehicle production to mask and ventilator production. These masks and ventilators then went to frontline health workers in need. He later took the lead in developing the automaker’s return-to-work strategies and safety protocols. His efforts allowed GM to reopen its plants as well as other operations safely.
“I am incredibly humbled to be named among the distinguished list of Black Engineer of the Year recipients,” said Johnson. “When I began my career, I didn’t set out to change the world. However, GM has afforded me amazing opportunities to lead innovation for our industry that is lifesaving and life-changing.”
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The BEYA STEM 2021 Conference began virtually on Feb. 11 and will continue through Feb. 13, during which the BEYA Awards Ceremony will take place.
Amanda Drago lives in West Chester, Ohio with her wonderful family, which includes her adorable dog, Coco. Amanda recently graduated from Miami University with degrees in both marketing and creative writing. However, if she was ever forced to change career paths, she imagines that she would train dogs for movies. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, and watching Netflix. She also has a special place in her heart for theatre and purchases tickets to as many shows as she can. See more articles by Amanda.