By Scott Miller
Published March 20, 2013
Longtime General Motors executive Frederick Cartwright hadn’t heard of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research before applying to be its executive director.
“That’s a point you have to take seriously,” said Cartwright, who was named executive director Tuesday.
Cartwright will retire at the end of the month from GM, where he currently serves as director of new business initiatives based in Detroit. He begins at CU-ICAR April 1.
The university is looking to expand its industry partnerships at CU-ICAR and has discussed the idea of expanding its physical footprint there, too.
“One of the things I plan to work on is to make CU-ICAR more visible to the global transportation community, not just the automotive community,” Cartwright said. “The broader transportation industry, or I’ll call it the mobility industry, runs a spectrum from bicycles up to trains and everything in between.”
He wouldn’t comment on specific plans for CU-ICAR, saying he still needs to investigate the research institute’s current offerings and potential.
“With my background, I can speak with that industry voice and help get ICAR aligned with industry so we’re working on the right things and the right partners,” he said.
That includes research to improve vehicle innovation, cost, efficiency and manufacturing, Cartwright said.
“Industry needs more efficient vehicles … There’s a need for smarter vehicles, more connected vehicles as well,” he said.
Cartwright’s experience includes design and development of advanced powertrains for commercial and military vehicles, management of GM’s hybrid bus program and numerous new business-development initiatives involving other auto manufacturers. Among other executive positions, he previously was vice president for alliances and new business development for General Motors Europe in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
In his most recent role, Cartwright was responsible for development of new technology and product-based initiatives.
He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and an MBA from Butler University.
“Since opening five years ago, CU-ICAR has become an international model for economic development,” John Kelly, Clemson University vice president for economic development, said in a news release. “The campus has an enviable list of transport-related industry partners. With Fred at the helm, those relationships will only strengthen and more are sure to join.
“Fred’s appointment will not only further CU-ICAR’s mission, but help enhance the reputation of Upstate South Carolina as the go-to place for business,” Kelly said.
The campus has garnered more than $250 million in public and private investments and created more than 700 jobs, according to a news release.