Dr. Ye-chen Pan’s personal journey embodies the American Dream and his professional achievement is a testament to General Motors’ unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion – so it is no wonder he was recognized by the Chinese Institute of Engineers - USA when he received its prestigious Asian American Engineer of the Year award in March 2014.
During his 20-year GM career, Dr. Pan has been widely recognized as an expert in Crash / Safety Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE). As the Safety CAE Global Simulation Owner for Advanced Method and Automation, Dr. Pan provides strong focus on advanced methods, technologies and process automation in safety/crash CAE simulation. These tools are key to reducing product development costs and time, while improving the safety, comfort and durability of the product.
“My work in CAE gives me a sense of accomplishment and personal pride,” Dr. Pan said. “In my opinion, GM’s technological leadership in CAE gives this great company the competitive advantage within the automotive industry, in terms of costs and product safety.”
Dr. Pan came to the United States to pursue advanced degrees after graduating from college in his native Taiwan. He received master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and joined GM in 1994. He has held a number of leadership positions within the company, including global simulation owner for Multi-Disciplinary Optimization, chairman of the Side Crash Analysis Quality Improvement Team and technical integration engineer in Vehicle Structure and Safety Integration Center.
In addition to Dr. Pan’s most recent Asian American Engineer of the Year award, he is also the recipient of several other awards, including three Tool/Method/Secret for GM patent submissions in 2006, 2007 and 2012.
Dr. Pan has been instrumental in preserving and promoting Chinese culture and language in the metro-Detroit area. He has been involved with the Southern Michigan Chinese School in Troy, Mich. since the 1990s, serving as its vice president, president and chairman of the board from 1997 to 1999.
“As an immigrant from Taiwan, I am very grateful for the opportunities offered to me in the United States, enabling me to become a contributing citizen of this great country,” he said. “In return, I feel it is my duty and obligation to give back to the community and share my cultural heritage with others, so our society can continue to be enriched with and strengthened by our diversity.”