Product Manager – 2014 Chevrolet Silverado
Carl Hillenbrand has been the product manager for the Chevrolet Silverado since 2007. His role as product manager for full-size truck-based products began in 1999 with the launch of the 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche, and also includes the launches of the Tahoe and Suburban full-size SUVs in 2007 and the Silverado HD in 2011.
Hillenbrand’s full-time career with GM began in 1983 in the service department of the Oshawa, Ontario head office. He has worked in the field, and held several different management positions in GM Canada, including consumer relations manager, business management, and supervisor of forecasting and scheduling. He also spent three years in Germany at Opel/GM Europe in a product management role.
Hillenbrand began his career with GM in June 1978 as a GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University) co-op student. He graduated in 1983 from GMI with a degree in mechanical engineering, and received his Master of Management degree in 1995 from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Creative Design Manager, Truck Interiors
Chris Hilts, creative design manager of truck Interiors, doesn’t hesitate when asked how he defines success for his team. “To create a truck that is superior in the marketplace and best in class,” he said.
That’s no small task, considering Hilts and his team are responsible for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups and the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks, all of which compete in highly competitive market segments.
“We simply have more features and functions, better materials and quality than what is usually found in most uplevel passenger vehicles. These trucks are truly world class, with exceptional quality and unexpected value,” said Hilts.
Hilts joined the GM Design team in 2001 after graduating from Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. When he isn’t in the studio, you can find him out on the open water in his offshore performance speedboat.
Vice President, Global Chevrolet Marketing and Strategy
Chris Perry has been vice president, global Chevrolet marketing and strategy, since 2011. He joined Chevrolet in August 2010.
Prior to that, Perry was vice president, U.S. marketing, and before that vice president, Chevrolet marketing.
Before coming to Chevrolet, Perry was vice president, marketing for Hyundai Motor America.
Perry is a 25-year marketing veteran, with more than 20 years dedicated to the automotive industry. His career spans agency, research consulting and in-house experience working for major international automakers. Perry’s expertise includes strategic planning, creative development, media strategy and planning for general market, multicultural, interactive and dealer advertising, and integration across all communication disciplines.
Perry joined Hyundai in 2000 as head of brand planning. While with Hyundai, he led more than a dozen new model introductions, and developed and produced the “Hyundai Assurance” program that led to the 2009 Advertising Age “Marketer of the Year” honors.
Before joining Hyundai, Perry spent nearly a decade at American Isuzu Motors, where he was involved in strategic planning and advertising. He also worked for the creative agency Della Femina, McNamee, and in research consulting with Diagnostic Research.
Perry earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from California State University Northridge. He is married with and two children and lives in the Detroit area.
Jeffrey O. Luke
Executive Chief Engineer, Global Full-size and Midsize Trucks
Jeffrey O. Luke was named executive chief engineer for global full-size and midsize trucks on Aug. 1, 2012, bringing more than 20 years of engineering experience to GM’s next-generation full-size and midsize trucks.
Previously, he had been executive director, group vehicle line executive / vehicle chief engineer for global trucks, vans and crossovers, since 2010.
Before this assignment, Luke was global vehicle chief engineer for General Motors full-size trucks and vans, starting in September 2009. In this role, he was responsible for leading overall engineering execution to achieve segment-leading vehicle performance with world-class quality, reliability and durability.
Luke began his career with General Motors in 1986, assigned to the Scarborough Van Assembly Center as a co-op student attending GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University) in Flint, Mich. He was hired full time in 1991 and held several positions in the plant until it closed in 1993. Luke was transferred to the Oshawa Truck Assembly Center, where he worked until 1995 as a general assembly process and tooling engineer.
Jordan R. Lee
Global Chief Engineer and Program Manager – Small Block Engines
Jordan Lee of GM Powertrain has been global chief engineer and program manager – GM Small Block engines, since 2010. His team is responsible for the engines in the all-new, 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickups.
Lee began his General Motors career in 1982 as an engineering co-op student with Advanced Engineering Staff (AES), GM Tech Center, in Warren, Mich. He became a development engineer in 1986, and held several engineering positions within AES.
In 1992, he became a design release engineer, responsible for various engine components, including induction systems, intake manifold assemblies, cooling system components and cylinder block assemblies.
In 2000, he became a manufacturing engineer, working at GM’s Flint-South Engine Plant. In 2001, Lee was named design system engineer for GM’s Small Block engine program. He held that position until 2004, when he was promoted to engineering group manager at GM’s Milford Proving Ground.
Lee became global chief engineer and program manager for Small Block engines in 2010.
Lee is from Belle Glade, Fla. He earned an associate’s degree from Palm Beach Community College in 1981, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in 1986, and a master’s degree in engineering from Purdue University in 1989.
Vehicle Chief Engineer, Full-size Pickups
Jully Burau is a vehicle chief engineer leading the team launching Chevrolet’s and GMC’s all-new, full-size light duty and heavy duty pickups.
Prior to her current assignment, Burau was vehicle chief engineer for full-size trucks beginning in 2001. During that time, she developed and launched product s for eight model years, including the 2007 Motor Trend award-winning family of GM full-size pickups.
Burau has had a varied background within engineering, including developing GM’s first air bag programs in the 1980s, to brake system development and interior engineering programs.
Burau began her career with General Motors in 1975 as a General Motors Institute (now Kettering) co-op student with Buick Motor Division.
Marketing Manager – Chevrolet Silverado
Lloyd Biermann is the marketing manager for the all-new, 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, a position he has held since January.
Before coming to Chevrolet, Biermann was with Buick for 12 years, where he served as marketing manager for Buick crossovers, including the Enclave and Encore.
Prior to Buick, he held a number of engineering assignments at the Milford Proving Ground, at several manufacturing facilities throughout North America, and in product design at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Mich. Besides the Silverado, Enclave and Encore, he has helped launch other GM products such as the Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo during his 34 years with the company.
Biermann joined joined General Motors in 1978. He graduated from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) with a degree in mechanical engineering and from the Harvard Business School with a Master of Business Administration degree.
Biermann and his family live in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He has two adult sons.
Director of Product Marketing for Chevrolet Trucks
Maria Rohrer has served as director of product marketing for Chevrolet trucks since March 2010. She is currently directing the launch of the new Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty full-size pickup due this spring.
Beginning in 2008, Rohrer concurrently led Chevrolet Global Marketing Operations, Chevrolet Volt product marketing and Chevrolet truck advertising, including digital and CRM activities.
Prior to this, Rohrer was the marketing director at Buick during the brand’s revitalization that began with the launch of the Buick Enclave. Additionally, she was the director of Buick-Pontiac-GMC channel operations.
During her 23-year career with General Motors, Rohrer’s roles have included Chevrolet marketing manager for Silverado; advertising and promotions manager for Pontiac, and various operational positions at Saturn, including advertising, and field/dealer operations based in Atlanta.
Vehicle Performance Engineer, Truck Programs
Michael Symons has had the role of Vehicle Performance Manager for GM’s truck programs since February 2008. In this role, Symons manages a team of 40 engineers that are responsible for the performance integration testing for all truck programs.
Prior to leading the truck performance testing team, Symons served as the global platform Hummer H3 Program Engineering Manager where he oversaw a global team of engineers originating from South Africa and Brazil.
In his 25 year career with GM, Symons’ has held roles in various engineering testing areas including the HVAC/engine cooling, powertrain, and noise and vibration teams and managed the Off-Road Racing Program through Team MacPherson Motorsports from July 1993- July 1997. Additionally, he served as the Group Manager for a team of 13 engineers and four support personnel at the Janesville, Wisconsin manufacturing facility.
Symons’ began his full-time career with GM in 1988 as a test engineer after completing his bachelor’s degree and gaining professional experience through General Motors Scholar and summer internship program for two and a half years.
Symons’ received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University in 1987. He also a certified Black Belt in Design for Six Sigma (DFSS); an industry certification focused on improving organizational success based on five leading issues in the service industry: customer satisfaction, cost reduction, value improvement, change management and process performance measurements.
Assistant Chief Engineer – Small Block Truck Engines
Sheryl Balsley of GM Powertrain became the assistant chief engineer – Small Block truck engines, in 2010, playing a key role in the engines in the all-new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickups.
Balsley began her General Motors career in 1985 as an engineering co-op student. She became a design engineer in 1990 and moved to the dynamometer test lab. In 1992, she moved to the Milford Proving Ground and held several positions in validation, OBDII and subsystem engine calibration.
In 1999, she became a design responsible engineer and for eight months worked on valvetrain, cam drive and cylinder heads. In 2007, Balsley was named engineering group manager at GM Powertrain in Europe. She returned to Warren, Mich. a year later to the position of powertrain vehicle system engineer, then became engineering group manager for engine product programs.
Balsley earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in 1990, and a master’s degree from Purdue University in 1994.
Director of Design, Full-Size Truck and Performance Car Exteriors
Tom Peters has been director of design, full-size truck and performance car exteriors, since 2009.
His work as the director of GM’s full-size truck and performance car studios began in 2004, when he was the director of exterior design for global rear-wheel-drive vehicles.
Peters has spent his 30-year career designing numerous concept, production and specialty vehicles and mentoring hundreds of designers.
After a very brief stint at GM Design in 1980, Peters returned in 1982 to the Advanced Design and Production Studios of Pontiac and Chevrolet. In 1992, he became director of GM’s Advanced Concept Center, where he advocated progressive digital design development processes and led a number of high-profile projects for full-size trucks and alternative drive vehicles.
Tom Peters’ fond memories of drawing vibrant pictures of cars like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth hot rods and selling copies at his junior high school for 25 cents were just the beginning of his lifetime passion for cars and design.
Peters graduated from the Art Center College of Design in California with a degree in Transportation Design. In his spare time, he enjoys cruising in his ’69 ZL1 Camaro and embracing Michigan’s four seasons with his wife and three children.