David E. Cole is the Emeritus Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was formerly Director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation (OSAT) at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. He has worked extensively on internal combustion engines, vehicle design, and overall automotive industry trends. He is now co-founder and chairman of AutoHarvest, a nonprofit website that aims to connect the auto industry with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to market and commercialize intellectual property.
Dr. Cole's recent research has focused on strategic issues related to the restructuring of the North American industry and trends in globalization, technology, market factors, and human resource requirements. He was formerly a member of the Energy Engineering Board of the National Research Council and the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Pact Select Panel. He is also a director of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, as well as a director of six automotive supplier companies. In addition, Dr. Cole is a member of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and was recently appointed by Michigan’s Governor to the Strategic Economic Investment and Commercialization Board and the Michigan Renewable Fuels Commission. He was named a co-chair of Detroit Renaissance’s “Road to Renaissance” Project in the fall of 2006. At the University of Michigan he is a member of the Energy Research Council, Mechanical Engineering External Advisory Board and the Biological Station Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the Denso Foundation Board. Dr. Cole was formerly a director of the Automotive Hall of Fame and a member of the Board of Trustees of Hope College.
He is active in SAE, including serving two terms on the Board of Directors. In February 1986, he was named a fellow of SAE. He is also active in the Engineering Society of Detroit and was elected to fellow status in 1990. In 2000, he received the Engineering Society’s highest award, the Horace H. Rackham medal. He is also a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and was elected to fellow grade in 2009. In 1993, he received the National Automobile Dealers Association Foundation's International Freedom of Mobility Award. In 1994, Design News selected Dr. Cole as one of eight engineering leaders, and he was also selected to receive Sweden's Order of the Polar Star.
In the fall of 1998, Dr. Cole was named as the Marketing Educator of the Year by the Society of Marketing Executives. Additionally, he received the 1998 Rene Dubos Environmental Award for his contributions to the industrial ecology of the automobile and in 1999, Chevalier of the National Order of Merit from France. In addition, he received the 2008 Mechanical Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Michigan
Dr. Cole also has been actively involved in the start-up of five different Ann Arbor-based companies. Dr. Cole's technical and policy consulting experience includes a variety of assignments for industry, labor, and government and he has spoken to more than 1000 different groups on automotive issues.
Dr. Cole received his B.S.M.E. and Mathematics, M.S.M.E. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and recently received an honorary doctorate from Cleary University.