GM’s Dom Lester Stands Out
NOTE: Lester is third in our series of Bio Briefs reflecting examples of why scholarships are needed for women, minorities and the economically-challenged via our USA Today “A Community Thrives” campaign: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/steam-sports-foundation-the-steam-behind-motorsports
ATLANTA, GA (April 9) - Dom Lester is an engineer. Over the years, he has had a distinct insight for making GM race and road cars perform at their highest levels. He spent the last several years as Director of Engineering at GM’s Performance and Racing Center in Pontiac, MI, and recently was promoted to Director of Powertrain and Electrification Development for GM.
Growing up in Maryland where his stepdad had a repair and speed shop, Dom built his first engine at age 12. With an engineering degree in hand from Lafayette College, he headed to the Motor City.
“I always had that drive to beat the other kid on the track,” says Lester, “and that mentality has paved my way.”
There are few like him. Unfortunately. Yes, as a talent, he ranks among the best in his field, yet it is one more characteristic that makes him a bit different from the norm. Dom is an African-American in the automotive/motorsports engineering profession where there are precious few.
“I think young people often want to become what they can see (as role models)” he says, “and there have not been many of us. Sometimes, socio-economics drive them in a different direction, but they need to know that there are a lot of opportunities developing in the automotive world whether it’s for engineers, technicians, machinists or developing electric vehicles. We simply need to do a good job sharing those opportunities and successes and put them more front and center.”
Dom has had his hand in many of GM’s racing successes on both the sports car and IndyCar levels. GM’s IndyCar program has won the series championship six out of the seven last seasons, and its Corvette program has been sports cars’ most successful program over the last 20 years. So whether it’s engine building and design, machining, calibration or dynamometer validation, rest assured that Dom is more than adept at the cross-pollination between race car and road car.
Unique – and talented – in so many ways.