Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Robert L. Dorn, 75, A Deming Disciple, Retired Cadillac Engineering Chief and Father of The NorthStar V-8, is Gone Too Soon...

Publisher's note:   I've just gotten word that long-time colleague and friend Robert L. Dorn, 75, succumbed to cancer last night in his Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, home where he had been transferred following hospitalization.

Bob Dorn 
Kettering University, '60
Dorn, former Cadillac Chief Engineer and a disciple of process improvement guru Dr. W. Edwards Deming, personally guided Cadillac in a technology and quality revolution within GM that not only garnered his Division the Malcolm Baldridge Award for quality, but laid the technological foundation for the superb NorthStar V-8 engine.

When production difficulties with the Allante Sports Coupe threatened Cadillac's hard fought return to a position of prestige parity such as that existing when it won the coveted Dewar Trophy in 1903, Dorn worked closely with a select team to "fix it".

The ASME (American Society for Mechanical Engineers) organization conferred upon Dorn its highest award for "The Cadillac Quality Management Story", a paper written in the field of Management, economics or business...

A more expansive story on the life of a person who was inarguably one of GM's finest engineers with an atypical vision for returning Cadillac to greatness, will follow later this week.

David E. Davis
Lastly, I will take this opportunity to convey condolences (March 27, 2011) to the family of another long-time colleague whose knowledge of automobiles and company I have enjoyed for nearly three decades;  Automobile Magazine Founder and Car & Driver contributor David E. Davis.

Rest well Bob and Dave, the automotive industry is in your debt...

Carpe diem,
Myron D. Stokes


Full page ad for 1987 Cadillac Allante; body by Pininfarina and flown from Italty via Lufthansa and Alitalia 747s for mating to engine, drive train and suspension at Hamtramck, Michigan, GM production plant   Image: Cadillac Motor Car Division