In February 2021, Gerald Johnson will receive the prestigious Black Engineer of the Year Award. As executive vice president of global manufacturing for General Motors, he is responsible for the budget, quality, and safety performance for 103,000 employees representing more than 129 manufacturing facilities on five continents in 16 countries.
When production at GM was temporarily suspended at the beginning of the pandemic, Johnson and his team worked across the company to quickly and effectively shift manufacturing and engineering resources to ventilators and mask production for frontline health workers. He is also credited for spearheading the company’s robust safety protocols and return-to-work strategies that made it possible to safely reopen GM plants and other operations.
“For 35 years the BEYA STEM Conference mission has been focused on opening doors of opportunity for future STEM professionals,” said BEYA Chairman Tyrone Taborn, who is also CEO of Career Communications Group, publisher of US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine. “A big part of that is acknowledging dynamic leaders like Johnson who show up and deliver in their positions but also continuing to pave a path towards a better future in STEM-related careers for Blacks and minority talent.”
Johnson, a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion is an inaugural member of GM’s Inclusion Advisory Board (IAB), which was announced on June 1, 2020, and whose goal is to improve diversity and inclusion within GM through words, deeds, and culture. His bold video shared widely on LinkedIn offered essential guidance on having difficult conversations about racial equality in the workplace.
Throughout his career, Gerald has been devoted to continuous improvement – professional and personal. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at Kettering University, where he helps the engineers of tomorrow, and he is a volunteer mentor for TutorMate, which supports literacy learning for underserved school students.
“Manufacturing has been Gerald’s passion since he was an 18-year-old co-op student, and he has dedicated his career to continuously improving how we build vehicles and components with the highest level of quality and efficiency. His leadership and steadfast integrity have made General Motors a better company,” said Mary Barra, CEO & Chairman, General Motors Company.