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David J. Albritton is General Motors Defense’s innovation leader

David J. Albritton at the 2020 BEYA STEM Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park on Feb. 15, 2020. (Photo credit: Tony Powell)

David J. Albritton is president and general manager of General Motors Defense LLC, which is GM’s new business entity focused on providing innovative and advanced automotive technologies and services to the global aerospace, defense and security industries.

Previously, he was GM’s executive director of product development and international communications, a member of the board of managers for GM Defense and an officer in the U.S. Navy, which included service aboard USS Portland (LSD 37) during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During Albritton’s time in the Navy, he also served at the Pentagon as an official spokesman on the news desk and as the flag lieutenant and aide to the Navy’s chief of information.

Albritton holds a bachelor’s in general engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, as well as a master’s in management from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Carl Eric Fonville (left) and David J. Albritton at the 2020 BEYA STEM Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park on Feb. 15, 2020. (Photo credit: Tony Powell)

Rolling out sat down with Albritton during the 2020 BEYA STEM Conference, where he presented the Research Leadership Award to fellow GM colleague and development engineer Carl Eric Fonville. Albritton shared his role and responsibilities, recruitment strategies and what it means to “reimagine technology and capabilities.”

What does it mean to be the chief executive and general manager of GM Defense?

We are a wholly owned subsidiary company, General Motors LLC, so I’m a division of General Motors. Our responsibility is to take the advanced automotive capabilities that GM produces in the commercial market and think about reimagining them and introducing them into the U.S., global defense and international and domestic security markets as well. 

David J. Albritton, seated second from right, during the Global Catalyst for Change panel session during the 2020 BEYA STEM Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park on Feb. 15, 2020. (Photo credit: Tony Powell)

What does it mean to “reimagine technology and capabilities?”

If you think about the investments we’re making, let’s just say with electric vehicles, today GM sells the Chevy Bolt EV, an all-electric vehicle that’s very popular. As the military has traditionally used internal combustion engines, either gas or diesel, to move troops around the battlefield or on bases, they’re looking for more effective, efficient and cost-effective ways to use that same platform [of electric vehicles]. There’s interest in battery-electric solutions, hydrogen fuel cells, or maybe a hybrid diesel, so maybe a gas and electric solution. Those are capabilities that GM provides in the commercial market, so [the question becomes] how can those technologies be equated to military platforms as well.

Click continue to view more of our interview with Albritton, who discusses his role and responsibilities, leadership and the importance of mentorship and networking.

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