TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Donald Gray, retired president and CEO of Automotive Youth Educational Systems, died of cancer at his home here May 29, 2004. He was 61.
Automotive Youth Educational Systems is a non-profit organization in Troy, Mich., created to address the scarcity of qualified service technicians by encouraging high school students to consider high-tech careers in the automotive industry.
It originally began in 1995 as a General Motors program, inspired by Jack Smith, then-president and CEO of GM. Gray was national service manager for Chevrolet when Smith tapped him to run Automotive Youth Educational Systems.
Gray lead its development and expansion to include 13 automakers, 6,000 students, nearly 400 affiliated schools in 45 states and more than 4,300 dealerships.
Gray began his career as a dealership service technician and later as service manager. After earning a degree in automotive technology, he joined Chevrolet in 1971 as district service manager. Gray went on to hold a variety of positions for Chevrolet and GM, virtually all of them related to the promotion of quality automotive service.
In the fall of 1998, the Automotive Youth Educational Systems board elected Gray the organization's president and CEO. Gray retired from GM in December 2000 and retired from Automotive Youth Educational Systems in 2003.