Promoting excellence in mobility engineering


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Past President

Daniel E. Nicholson

General Motors Global Propulsion Systems, United States

Dan Nicholson was named Global Propulsion Systems Vice President, effective November 2014. In this role, Nicholson is responsible for the design, development and testing of GM powertrain systems globally.

Nicholson previously served as executive director of Powertrain controllers, software and calibration, a role he has had since April, 2011.

He served as vice president of Quality from June 2010 to March 2011, and vice president of Global Propulsion Systems (formerly called GM Powertrain) Engineering in Europe from June 2008 to May 2010. Previous roles include executive director of Powertrain Integration in Europe and the chief engineer and program manager for GM’s small- and big-block engine programs.

Nicholson began his General Motors career at the Buick Motor Division as a co-op student in 1982. Upon his return from graduate school, he became a project engineer with the Powertrain Division of the Buick-Olds-Cadillac Group.

In 1995, Nicholson was promoted to staff project engineer and worked in Engine Management System Hardware design. In 1997, Nicholson was the resident product engineer for GM Powertrain in Shanghai, China validating engines for the Chinese market. In 1998, Nicholson was named engineering group manager for Future Emissions Development. In June 2000, Nicholson was promoted to director of Controller Integration & Applications at GM Powertrain. He was responsible for integrating the hardware and software necessary to control the engines and transmissions for GM Powertrain products worldwide. In July 2002 he became the director of Engine Development, Calibration & Validation, responsible for the emissions, drivability, on-board diagnostics and fuel economy for all engines in the North American portfolio.

Nicholson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in 1987. He received a Master’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1988; a graduate certificate in Statistical Methods from Oakland University in 1991. In 1998, Nicholson received his Master’s of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he serves as a GM key executive today.

He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan. He is an active member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and on the Board of Trustees for the SAE Foundation. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Engineering Society of Detroit and the president-elect of FISITA. 

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