Former Ford Design Chief, Young Ford Engineers Receive Automotive Hall of Fame Honors

DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- John J. "Jack" Telnack, Ford Motor Company's (NYSE: F) former vice president of global design and a driving force behind the ground-breaking aerodynamic 1986 Ford Taurus, joins a host of other automotive leaders as a member of the prestigious Automotive Hall of Fame in a special induction ceremony held today in Dearborn.

Two Ford engineers, Lisa Drake and David Nowicki, are also being honored with the organization's 2008 Young Leader and Excellence Award.

Before he retired from Ford in 1998, Telnack was considered by many of his peers and industry insiders as the most influential car designer alive. During his 40-year career at Ford, Telnack held chief design positions in the U.S., Australia and Europe. In addition to penning the first out-of-the-box drawings of the original 1986 Ford Taurus, he helped bring distinctive, functional aerodynamic, global design aesthetics to the entire American auto scene in the late '70s and early '80s.

Jeff Leestma, president of the Automotive Hall of Fame, said Telnack's name is being added to a long list of automotive celebrities from Ford Motor Company; however, he is the first designer from Ford to make the grade. "This is the single greatest honor in the motor vehicle industry, intended to honor a career and lifetime achievement," said Leestma of being inducted. "Mr. Telnack is joining an elite group of automotive pioneers from Ford that includes Henry Ford, Edsel Ford and Harold 'Red' Poling."

The Automotive Hall of Fame is the only industry-wide means to honor the men and women of the global motor vehicle and related industries. More than 200 individuals have been inducted to date, with four to eight new hall of famers added each year.

Telnack considers his inclusion a great mark of distinction. "I was surprised, deeply touched and honored that they selected me," he said. "I'm sure the Taurus was a big driver in this decision, and it was my time in Europe that influenced me to expand and push for a more functional approach to vehicle design that considered aerodynamics and its contribution to fuel economy. It started with the '79 Mustang, which was a real departure in terms of aerodynamics. That led to the '83 T-Bird and Cougar, which paved the way for the Taurus."

Young Leader and Excellence Award

While Telnack's induction honors past accomplishments, the Automotive Hall of Fame's Young Leader and Excellence Award recognizes achievements of today's automotive innovators. To be eligible, nominees must be age 40 or under, and have demonstrated significant potential as future industry leaders.

Among the selected four recipients for 2008 are Ford's Lisa Drake, chief engineer, Global Hybrid Strategy and Applications; and David Nowicki, manager, Advance Program Engineering.

Drake, 36, was nominated by Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president, Global Product Development, for her contributions as the assistant chief engineer on the Ford F-Series Super Duty program and her current work as the chief engineer for Ford's hybrid programs. In this position, Drake is looking beyond just traditional hybrid vehicles, examining the development and emergence of plug-in hybrids as well.

"It's fantastic to come to work and talk about -- strategize about -- the same issues that are being addressed around the world, from global warming, energy security and alternative transportation," said Drake. "My job is extremely rewarding because it's relevant to the world. This award is not really mine. It belongs to Ford Motor Company because I never would have won without fantastic mentorship, a great team or the opportunity to work on such great products."

Other Young Leader winner David Nowicki also speaks to management support as a key contributor to his career success. With 19-plus years at Ford, Nowicki, 40, has taken on a number of challenging assignments within advanced manufacturing, including readying the Wayne Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, with $65 million in new equipment for the Ford Focus launch. He also spent three years in Europe launching Focus in Germany and Spain. In his current position as Vehicle Operations Industrial Engineering, Ergonomics and Simulation manager for all North American assembly plants, Nowicki is responsible for labor efficiencies, creating workstations and jobs that do not result in injury and ensuring production throughput capability.

"I have always been impressed with how our management team has coached and taught us about the big picture and where we fit," Nowicki said. "They have been extremely supportive and given me challenging roles that have helped me grow and improve as I go. Winning this award was a big surprise and a great honor."

Dan Hettel, chief engineer of Advanced Manufacturing Engineering and Technology, nominated Nowicki for the Young Leader and Excellence Award. "Dave is able to deliver outstanding results -- often under difficult circumstance -- but always makes his team feel fully supported and positive about what they are accomplishing," Hettel said. "He is one of the strongest young leaders in our division and is deserving of such an important award."

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 229,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit our website at

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