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Retired Group Vice President, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company

Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Award

2015

Bio:

After a distinguished 33-career with Ford Motor Company, Derrick Kuzak ’73, ’74, ’76 retired in April 2012 as group vice president of Global Product Development. In this position, which he had held for six years, he led a team of 18,000 designers, engineers and technicians located in eight centers in the United States, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Under Kuzak’s direction, his team was responsible for the styling, design and engineering of all Ford vehicles globally. With an understanding of customer needs in each market and emphasis on advancements in innovative electric vehicle technology and fuel efficiency, Kuzak and his team led Ford to unprecedented heights in global product development systems, parts and platforms.

Kuzak joined Ford in 1978 as a research engineer. Through the years he held positions of increasing responsibility in the area of product development, including as vice president of Product Development in Europe and in the Americas. At his retirement, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford recognized Kuzak for his “legacy of leadership, integrity and commitment to excellence that will benefit us for years to come.”

A strong supporter of University of Detroit Mercy, Kuzak graduated from the University with bachelor’s (’73) and master’s (’74) degrees in Electrical Engineering and a doctorate (’76) in Systems Engineering. He was honored as the UDM Engineering Alumnus of the Year in 2009 and has served on the UDM Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board of Madonna University.

Recognized extensively by both the national automotive and engineering communities, Kuzak received a Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2009, was selected an Automotive News All-Star in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2010.

Kuzak and his wife reside in West Bloomfield and have one daughter.

Distinguished graduate of the College of Engineering & Science, Dr. Kuzak was honored with the Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Award on April 17, 2015.

Citation:

During his distinguished 33-year career with Ford Motor Company, Derrick Kuzak was responsible for leading Ford to unprecedented heights in global product development systems, parts and platforms.

Recognized for his outstanding management skills, he led a team of 18,000 designers, engineers and technicians located in eight centers throughout the world.  Under his direction, this team was responsible for the styling, design and engineering of all Ford vehicles globally.

Upon his retirement in 2012, he was recognized by Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford for his legacy of leadership, integrity and commitment to excellence that will advance the company for years to come.

He has been honored extensively by both the national automotive and engineering communities, receiving a Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame and being elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering. A strong supporter of the University, he has served on the UDM Board of Trustees and was honored as the UDM Engineering Alumnus of the Year in 2009.

 

University of Detroit Mercy

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