Detroit — General Motors Co. is quietly paying tribute to a deceased engineer with every carbon-fiber pickup box it produces for the GMC Sierra.
Etched on the underside of the bed, which will be available in early summer, is "Connors Way."
The phrase was added by Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer of GM's full-size trucks, and his team as a tribute to Tim Connors, who served as manufacturing chief engineer of GM's full-size trucks.
"Tim had a way about him," Herrick said last week on a tour of the factory that's making the box near GM's Fort Wayne, Ind., assembly plant. "He would take care of us. He was a big proponent of the carbon-fiber box, a great friend of mine, a great confidant."
Connors died in 2015 at age 54 as a result of injuries from a motorcycle accident in Michigan.
"It was emotional for me," Herrick said. "It was emotional for very many. He was a great leader in our company."
The tribute, according to Herrick, was etched into the mold for the bed without the approval of higher executives. But once they saw it and heard the story, they approved.
"It quickly got support," said Mark Voss, engineering group manager for GM's pickup boxes.
Over a decadeslong career at GM, Connors served in several positions at key operations in Michigan, Indiana, Mexico and other locations.