John Wetzel

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1998

John J. “Jay” Wetzel II is recognized as one of Saturn Corporation’s founding fathers and one of the chief architects of lean engineering processes fully integrated with design and manufacturing. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Wetzel joined General Motors Corporation as a test engineer, leading the team that developed GM’s first high-volume, affordable fuel injection system. He became Pontiac’s Engineering Director in 1982 and cemented Pontiac’s role as the “excitement division” by participating in NASCAR races and showcasing the Firebird as an Indy pace car.

He was a founding member of Saturn and played a key role as Vice President and Director of Engineering in building an affordable, high-quality small car that was fun to drive and inspired owner loyalty. Currently the Vice President and General Manager of the General Motors Technical Centers overseeing design, engineering and research, and development activities, Wetzel has endowed quality scholarships at four Michigan universities.

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