As automakers began introducing new and improved vehicles to the press and at this year’s North American International Auto Show, a different venue was throwing the spotlight on the people behind those new designs. At the 17th Annual Urban Wheel Awards showcased GM and its employees earned top honors in four award categories.
Referred to as the Official Multicultural Event of NAIAS, this premier event celebrated diversity and inclusiveness in the automotive industry and saluted the best and the brightest among auto companies, products, dealers and suppliers. This year’s program paid a special tribute to the many contributions and accomplishments of women in the industry. GM’s awards included:
- Designer of the Year – Crystal Windham, Director of Design for the Chevrolet Passenger Car and Small Crossover Interior Studio
- Executive of the Year – Alicia Boler-Davis, Vice President of Global Quality and U.S. Customer Experience
- Company of the Year for Progress in Community Service Initiatives to Women – accepted by Vivian Pickard, president General Motors Foundation and Director of Corporate Relations and Ken Barrett, Chief Diversity Officer
- Urban Car of the Year – 2013 Cadillac ATS – accepted by Don Butler, Vice President of Marketing, Cadillac
“Randi Payton and Decisive Media, Inc. have been very supportive of diversity in our industry,” said Boler-Davis. “It is a great honor to be recognized by an organization that has such a strong commitment to individuals being included and having an opportunity to fulfill their dreams.”
Niecy Nash and Edward James Olmos hosted the event and Cadillac was the exclusive afterglow sponsor, where guests enjoyed a live musical performance by R&B soul group, Phase 5. Cadillac products were also on display throughout the event, including the award winning 2013 ATS.
“General Motors is a true leader in diversity and inclusion, making our support of the Urban Wheel Awards a natural fit,” said Barrett. “When individuals in a company feel valued, creativity is spawned and new ideas come forward leading to the breakthroughs that help GM maintain its competitive edge.”
The Urban Wheel Awards were founded in 1997 as the Golden Wheel Awards. Nearly 350 people attended the first program that was held at the Renaissance Club in downtown Detroit. The program was renamed in 1999 to better reflect the mission and purpose of Decisive Media. Throughout the years, the venues have changed to accommodate increasing audiences and categories have been added to reflect progress in diversity.