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Edward T. Welburn Jr.

Automobile Designer & Former Vice President of Global Design at General Motors

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Edward T. Welburn Jr. Biography

Ed Welburn has been drawing cars since the age of 2½. It was during a visit to the Philadelphia Auto Show that an 8-year-old Welburn decided he wanted a career in automotive design, and his mission to become an automotive designer for General Motors took on greater meaning when he wrote his first letter to GM three years later. The company wrote back and recommended the steps he needed to take to achieve his dream. The rest is history.

Welburn studied design, sculpture, and painting at Howard University’s School of Fine Arts. He continued his communication with GM during his years at Howard, which led to an internship at GM Design after his junior year in 1971.

Welburn’s first peek behind the curtain of GM Design was during an internship in 1971. One year later, he became the first African American hired to design GM vehicles. He spent his entire design career at GM, where he worked and on a diverse list of vehicles and in a variety of studios, including a one-year assignment at GM’s Opel Design Studios in Germany. It’s said that Welburn was involved in the design of over 500 different automobiles, including those by Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, Opel/Vauxhall, Holden, Hummer, Saab, Wuling, Baojun, Oldsmobile, Saturn, and Pontiac.

Welburn was named General Motors V.P. of Design in 2003 (he was just the sixth person to lead the department in the company’s history) and was the highest-ranked African American in the auto industry. In 2005, he became the first to lead GM Design globally, overseeing more than 1,400 designers working in 11 design centers in seven countries around the world.

Welburn is known as the designer who “brought beauty back to General Motors,” and as head of GM Design, he oversaw the designs of all GM brands globally, as well as the U.S. presidential limousine, known as “The Beast”, for presidents Obama, Trump and Biden. He also led GM Design through the turbulent years of the financial crisis and GM bankruptcy, and he feels as though his team dug down deep and created some of their best work during that period.

In addition to vehicle design, his team took on many industrial design projects, including graphic design, exhibit displays, dealerships, corporate offices and the interiors of corporate aircraft, as well as the Chevrolet pavilion at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center in Florida and the Chevrolet pavilion at Shanghai Disneyland.

Although Welburn’s primary focus was always on the development of future products for General Motors, the history of GM Design was important to him, including leading the update and restoration of 17 historic General Motors concept cars.

Welburn ’s career at GM also led him to the major auto shows in Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, New York, Shanghai, and Moscow, as well as lesser-known auto shows in Argentina, Brazil, Thailand, India, and Columbia. Along the way, he always took time to meet with design students.

On Welburn’s last day as vice president of Global Design, he closed out his career at GM and 13 years leading that organization by approving the design of the C8 Corvette in a final visit to the Corvette Studio. Since its introduction, the C8 Corvette has become one of the most significant and successful sports cars in the world and is an appropriate keystone of Welburn’s illustrious 44 years at General Motors.

In 2016, General Motors dedicated its Center for African American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts in Welburn’s honor. The Detroit Free Press also honored him with its first ever Difference Makers Lifetime Achievement Award, and most recently, Welburn’s body of work was turned over to the Smithsonian Institution, making him the first automobile designer to earn that distinction.

In 2017, Welburn was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by the College For Creative Studies, a leading design school located in Detroit, and he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

In 2018, he received the EyesOn Design Lifetime Design Achievement Award, and in 2021, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Robb Report.

Most recently, Welburn was inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame in September of 2022 by the National Corvette Museum.

Welburn has enjoyed a long relationship with the film industry, with the goal being to ensure GM products are placed in key roles in feature films. Welburn notes his relationship with director Michael Bay, Paramount Pictures, and the Transformers movies, featuring the Bumblebee Camaro, as having been the most thrilling. His work on this film franchise led to a speaking role in Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, in which the audience saw a very different Ed Welburn - one in a fit of anger!

In 2019, Welburn founded Welburn Media Productions, for which he is CEO and a producer on a major movie project under development.

Welburn has also lent his talents and expert knowledge of automobiles to several automotive TV programs, including AmeriCarna, Jay Leno’s Garage, and the automotive reality series Motor City Masters.

Welburn recognizes a connection between fashion and automobile design. This kinship brought Welburn to spearhead the creation of three automotive fashion shows; two in Detroit, and a third in Dubai. In these shows, GM’s latest concept cars rolled down the runway along with Hollywood and music industry celebrities wearing the latest fashions.

Welburn also found his way onto the runway when he was named to HOUR Detroit Magazine’s Best Dressed list in 2014.

Ed Welburn’s interest in auto racing has taken him to major auto races around the world. While he has never driven a race car in competition, he has driven some of the great historic race cars of our time, including the Porsche 917 and the Chaparral 2E and 2H.

He has also driven laps at Indianapolis, LeMans, Suzuka, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Paul Rickard, and “The Temple of Speed” Monza, as well as many hours at GM test tracks around the world.

The next generation of artists are very important to Welburn, and he serves on the board of directors for the College for Creative Studies, America On Wheels, and Tony Bennett’s foundation, Exploring The Arts, which supports public schools of the arts in New York City and Los Angeles.

Welburn also continues his role as a judge of classic cars at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance, Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week, Greenwich Concours d'Elegance, Suzuka, and The Peninsula Classic.

Welburn comes from a close-knit family with roots in suburban Philadelphia. He has two adult children, two grandchildren, and he was fortunate to have his father live with him until his passing at the age of 101.

Welburn retired from General Motors on June 30, 2016 after 44 years. His career was punctuated by a final farewell tour of his studios around the world, a drive through Italy, France, and England in his personal ZO6 Corvette, a final review of the then-upcoming C8 Corvette, and a fabulous retirement celebration.

Welburn is reluctant to call this next chapter “retirement” because he continues to be very active. In addition to his passion for creating large abstract paintings, Ed sketches more than at any other time in the past 30 years, primarily following his interest in fashion by designing sneakers and women’s shoes.

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  • What are the speaker fees for Edward T. Welburn Jr.

    Speaking fees for Edward T. Welburn Jr., or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Edward T. Welburn Jr. are $10,000 - $20,000 for live events and $5,000 - $10,000 for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Edward T. Welburn Jr., click the Check Schedule button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Edward T. Welburn Jr. speak about?

    Edward T. Welburn Jr. is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Arts & Humanities, Black History, Diversity Speakers, Speakers by Industry, Television Stars, Virtual Speakers, Visual Arts.
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    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Edward T. Welburn Jr. or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Edward T. Welburn Jr. or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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Automobile Designer & Former Vice President of Global Design at General Motors

Travels From:
Bethlehem, PA, USA
Speaking Fee:

Edward T. Welburn Jr. Biography

Ed Welburn has been drawing cars since the age of 2½. It was during a visit to the Philadelphia Auto Show that an 8-year-old Welburn decided he wanted a career in automotive design, and his mission to become an automotive designer for General Motors took on greater meaning when he wrote his first letter to GM three years later. The company wrote back and recommended the steps he needed to take to achieve his dream. The rest is history.

Welburn studied design, sculpture, and painting at Howard University’s School of Fine Arts. He continued his communication with GM during his years at Howard, which led to an internship at GM Design after his junior year in 1971.

Welburn’s first peek behind the curtain of GM Design was during an internship in 1971. One year later, he became the first African American hired to design GM vehicles. He spent his entire design career at GM, where he worked and on a diverse list of vehicles and in a variety of studios, including a one-year assignment at GM’s Opel Design Studios in Germany. It’s said that Welburn was involved in the design of over 500 different automobiles, including those by Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, Opel/Vauxhall, Holden, Hummer, Saab, Wuling, Baojun, Oldsmobile, Saturn, and Pontiac.

Welburn was named General Motors V.P. of Design in 2003 (he was just the sixth person to lead the department in the company’s history) and was the highest-ranked African American in the auto industry. In 2005, he became the first to lead GM Design globally, overseeing more than 1,400 designers working in 11 design centers in seven countries around the world.

Welburn is known as the designer who “brought beauty back to General Motors,” and as head of GM Design, he oversaw the designs of all GM brands globally, as well as the U.S. presidential limousine, known as “The Beast”, for presidents Obama, Trump and Biden. He also led GM Design through the turbulent years of the financial crisis and GM bankruptcy, and he feels as though his team dug down deep and created some of their best work during that period.

In addition to vehicle design, his team took on many industrial design projects, including graphic design, exhibit displays, dealerships, corporate offices and the interiors of corporate aircraft, as well as the Chevrolet pavilion at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center in Florida and the Chevrolet pavilion at Shanghai Disneyland.

Although Welburn’s primary focus was always on the development of future products for General Motors, the history of GM Design was important to him, including leading the update and restoration of 17 historic General Motors concept cars.

Welburn ’s career at GM also led him to the major auto shows in Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, New York, Shanghai, and Moscow, as well as lesser-known auto shows in Argentina, Brazil, Thailand, India, and Columbia. Along the way, he always took time to meet with design students.

On Welburn’s last day as vice president of Global Design, he closed out his career at GM and 13 years leading that organization by approving the design of the C8 Corvette in a final visit to the Corvette Studio. Since its introduction, the C8 Corvette has become one of the most significant and successful sports cars in the world and is an appropriate keystone of Welburn’s illustrious 44 years at General Motors.

In 2016, General Motors dedicated its Center for African American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts in Welburn’s honor. The Detroit Free Press also honored him with its first ever Difference Makers Lifetime Achievement Award, and most recently, Welburn’s body of work was turned over to the Smithsonian Institution, making him the first automobile designer to earn that distinction.

In 2017, Welburn was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by the College For Creative Studies, a leading design school located in Detroit, and he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

In 2018, he received the EyesOn Design Lifetime Design Achievement Award, and in 2021, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Robb Report.

Most recently, Welburn was inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame in September of 2022 by the National Corvette Museum.

Welburn has enjoyed a long relationship with the film industry, with the goal being to ensure GM products are placed in key roles in feature films. Welburn notes his relationship with director Michael Bay, Paramount Pictures, and the Transformers movies, featuring the Bumblebee Camaro, as having been the most thrilling. His work on this film franchise led to a speaking role in Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, in which the audience saw a very different Ed Welburn - one in a fit of anger!

In 2019, Welburn founded Welburn Media Productions, for which he is CEO and a producer on a major movie project under development.

Welburn has also lent his talents and expert knowledge of automobiles to several automotive TV programs, including AmeriCarna, Jay Leno’s Garage, and the automotive reality series Motor City Masters.

Welburn recognizes a connection between fashion and automobile design. This kinship brought Welburn to spearhead the creation of three automotive fashion shows; two in Detroit, and a third in Dubai. In these shows, GM’s latest concept cars rolled down the runway along with Hollywood and music industry celebrities wearing the latest fashions.

Welburn also found his way onto the runway when he was named to HOUR Detroit Magazine’s Best Dressed list in 2014.

Ed Welburn’s interest in auto racing has taken him to major auto races around the world. While he has never driven a race car in competition, he has driven some of the great historic race cars of our time, including the Porsche 917 and the Chaparral 2E and 2H.

He has also driven laps at Indianapolis, LeMans, Suzuka, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Paul Rickard, and “The Temple of Speed” Monza, as well as many hours at GM test tracks around the world.

The next generation of artists are very important to Welburn, and he serves on the board of directors for the College for Creative Studies, America On Wheels, and Tony Bennett’s foundation, Exploring The Arts, which supports public schools of the arts in New York City and Los Angeles.

Welburn also continues his role as a judge of classic cars at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance, Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week, Greenwich Concours d'Elegance, Suzuka, and The Peninsula Classic.

Welburn comes from a close-knit family with roots in suburban Philadelphia. He has two adult children, two grandchildren, and he was fortunate to have his father live with him until his passing at the age of 101.

Welburn retired from General Motors on June 30, 2016 after 44 years. His career was punctuated by a final farewell tour of his studios around the world, a drive through Italy, France, and England in his personal ZO6 Corvette, a final review of the then-upcoming C8 Corvette, and a fabulous retirement celebration.

Welburn is reluctant to call this next chapter “retirement” because he continues to be very active. In addition to his passion for creating large abstract paintings, Ed sketches more than at any other time in the past 30 years, primarily following his interest in fashion by designing sneakers and women’s shoes.

Edward T. Welburn Jr. Videos

  • Ed Welburn Acceptance Speech - 2022 Corvette Hall of Fame
    Ed Welburn, Retired VP of GM Global Design accepts the 2022 Corvette Hall of Fame award for the category of GM/Chevrolet.

FAQs on booking Edward T. Welburn Jr.

  • How to book Edward T. Welburn Jr.?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Edward T. Welburn Jr. for both live and virtual events for over 20 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Edward T. Welburn Jr., or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Edward T. Welburn Jr. or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Edward T. Welburn Jr.?

    Speaking fees for Edward T. Welburn Jr., or any other keynote speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The amount that Edward T. Welburn Jr. charges to speak often varies according to the circumstances, including their schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Edward T. Welburn Jr., please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Edward T. Welburn Jr.?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Edward T. Welburn Jr. for clients worldwide for more than 20 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Edward T. Welburn Jr. for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Edward T. Welburn Jr. or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Edward T. Welburn Jr. or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Edward T. Welburn Jr. is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Edward T. Welburn Jr. for your event is $10,000 - $20,000. Edward T. Welburn Jr. generally travels from Bethlehem, PA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Trevor Stuurman, Javier Verdura, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Damon Davis and Daveed Diggs. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Edward T. Welburn Jr. for an upcoming live or virtual event.

Edward T. Welburn Jr. Speaker Videos

  • Ed Welburn Acceptance Speech - 2022 Corvette Hall of Fame
    Ed Welburn, Retired VP of GM Global Design accepts the 2022 Corvette Hall of Fame award for the category of GM/Chevrolet.

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Speakers Similar to Edward T. Welburn Jr.

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent and wish to request a profile update or removal from our online directory, please submit a profile request form.

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