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Edward Welburn Jr.
*Edward Welburn Jr. was born on this date in 1950. He is a Black automobile designer.
A native of Philadelphia, he is the son of Edward Sr. (an auto-body repair shop owner) and Evelyn Welburn. Welburn 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. Welburn began his General Motors career in 1972 as an associate designer assigned to the Advanced Design Studios. In 1973, Welburn joined the Buick Exterior Studio, and in 1975, he was assigned to the Oldsmobile Exterior Studio.
There he led the development of a number of successful production vehicles and designed the Oldsmobile Aerotech speed-record vehicle, which set two world's records of more than 257 miles per hour in 1987. He was named chief designer of the Oldsmobile Studio in 1989. Projects there included the Oldsmobile Antares concept car and the Oldsmobile Intrigue, both of which received AutoWeek magazine awards at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
In 1996, Welburn began a two-year assignment at Saturn, which led to an overseas assignment in Germany where he worked on future global design programs. Welburn was named director of GM's Advanced Design in Warren, Michigan, in 1998. His team was responsible for the development of new and innovative vehicles for all GM brands. Welburn's team also led the development of all GM concept vehicles, including the Chevy SS and the Chevy Bel Air show car, along with a new generation of hydrogen fuel cell concepts - GM AUTOnomy and Hy-wire. Welburn was appointed executive director of design, body-on-frame architectures, in January of 2002. In this position, he was responsible for the three truck studios at the GM Design Center in Warren. Projects included the HUMMER H3 and the latest generation of full-size trucks that reach the market starting in 2006.
He was appointed GM vice president, global design on March 1, 2005. He had been vice president of design, GM North America, since October 1, 2003, when he became only the sixth design leader in GM history. As vice president of global design, Welburn is responsible for the design development of all General Motors cars and trucks. He heads a team of over 1,400 men and women operating in 11 design centers in eight countries around the world. Today, Welburn is General Motors key executive to Howard University and serves on the board of governors at the Cranbrook Institute of Science and on the board of directors of the LeMay Museum. Welburn has received honors and special recognition from Rainbow PUSH, African Americans on Wheels Magazine, and Black Enterprise magazine. In 2004, he was named the Howard University Alumni of the Year.