Design Director and Chief Creative Officer, Land Rover
One of the biggest stories of 2012 was the success of Land Rover's new Range Rover Evoque, a smaller, four-cylinder powered SUV that combined the premium style of the Range Rover flagship in a more accessible, affordable package. The ground-breaking Evoque earned our 2012 SUV of the Year award, in addition to numerous other international awards. Worldwide demand for the Evoque has been so strong that Land Rover's Halewood, England plant is working on a 24-hour schedule to try to keep up.
Instrumental to the success of the Evoque is its avant-garde style, which can be directly attributed to Land Rover Design Director and Chief Creative Officer Gerry McGovern. In addition to vehicle styling, McGovern also oversees the marketing and creative direction, giving a cohesive, consistent theme to the brand.
Following hot on the heels of the Evoque is the all-new 2013 Range Rover, which applies many of the design cues of its little brother to the stately flagship. In Land Rover's future are many new models, including a possible production version of the DC100 concept, and a new Discovery/LR4. We can't wait to see what they'll look like.
Vice President, Engineering - Cummins
Long-known among Class 8 and commercial customers, Cummins became familiar to the consumer market with the introduction of the 1989 Dodge Ram. The engine's substantial torque, long-haul reliability and frugal fuel consumption quickly made it a favorite among those who used their trucks for towing. Coming up on 25 years, the collaboration between Cummins and Chrysler is as strong as ever.
Overseeing that relationship, as well as engineering for Cummins' medium and heavy-duty products is Jennifer Rumsey, who was just promoted to the role of Vice President of Engineering. Since joining Cummins, Rumsey has worked in Advanced Engineering in the areas of advanced controls, and aftertreatment technology development.
Prior to joining Cummins, Rumsey worked for Nuvera Fuel Cells in control system development and system integration. She holds a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a master's in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Chief Engineer, Toyota Trucks
While the Detroit Three have received the lion's share of attention over the last year for their trucks, Toyota is hoping to steal a little bit of the truck thunder with the introduction of the 2014 Tundra at the 2013 Chicago auto show. Overseeing the Tundra and Tacoma engineering programs is Mike Sweers.
Getting his start in interior design at Toyota Technical Center, Sweers served in several roles, culminating in his promotion to Vice President of Engineering Design -- Interior in January 2010. In July of that year, Sweers took on the role of Chief Engineer for the Toyota Tundra, and most recently added that role for the Tacoma program in April 2012.
While the Tundra is unlikely to unseat the Ford F-Series from its first-place sales perch anytime soon, it is a viable entry in the full-size truck market and it should become even more competitive following the introduction of the 2014 model.
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is best-known among consumers for its safety ratings, but NHTSA's responsibilities and oversight go far further than simply testing and assigning safety ratings to new vehicles. The agency is also in charge of overseeing vehicle recalls and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which will only get increasingly stringent in the years ahead. We're already seeing the results of the new policies in the 2013 Ram 1500 with its eight-speed automatic and class-leading 25 highway MPG, and Ford's pioneering development of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 in the F-150.
David Strickland was appointed by President Obama in 2010 to head NHTSA. Prior to his appointment, Strickland worked as Senior Democratic Counsel to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. In addition to his work on the new CAFE standards, Strickland was instrumental in pushing for the adoption of the 2014 rear-view camera mandate and has been working with state governments to advance anti-texting legislation. Strickland holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.
Strickland, under a proposal from President Obama, also helped implement a unified fuel economy standard and roadmap to simplify compliance, rather than build to three different standards from the DOT, EPA and CARB. We're all for less-confusing, easier-to-understand rules, so while we may not generally be fans of government regulations, we can appreciate the effort made to streamline fuel economy standards.
Chief Engineer, VIA Motors
VIA Motors, the Utah-based startup that converts fullsize trucks, vans, and SUVs into range-extended plug-in hybrids, is best known by many for having the iconic Bob Lutz on its board of directors. But Lutz isn't the only star VIA stole from GM. VIA is now the home of Nick Zielinski, former chief engineer of the Chevrolet Volt.
Eliciting equal measures of passion and derision from the political left and right alike, the Volt unequivocally put plug-in vehicles in the spotlight, winning Motor Trend's 2011 Car of the Year award in the process. Taking a practical, pragmatic approach toward addressing America's current infrastructure, the Volt cleverly balanced the benefits of a pure electric with the flexibility and convenience of a gasoline hybrid.
VIA is applying that same basic concept to full-size trucks and SUVs. Beta testing in the hands of municipal utilities and corporate fleets has come back overwhelmingly positive so far. With great fuel economy and plug-in on-the-job power for tools and equipment, we think the plug-in revolution is just beginning in full-size trucks, and VIA is at the forefront.
Zielinski was also involved in the Sequel concept and Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell projects. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan.