DETROIT -- Car designers and actors have at least one thing in common: The lead roles tend to become harder to land with age.
More often than not, the career arc for a vehicle stylist tends to go something like this: Bright, young graduate from design school lands at automaker, pens two or three solid hits, gets promoted into a management role, spends less time designing and more time managing projects. Two recent examples: Bryan Nesbitt, 45, of General Motors and Joel Piaskowski, 46, of Ford.
Nesbitt, after penning the Chrysler PT Cruiser that went on sale in 2000, landed at Chevrolet and now leads GM's international design from Shanghai.
Piaskowski started his career at GM and was involved with the Opel Corsa, Buick Lucerne and Chevrolet Colorado. He later ran U.S. design studios at Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, where he was responsible for the clean, aerodynamic look of the first Genesis sedan and coupe.
Now Nesbitt and Piaskowski leave much of the actual design work to Young Turks on their staffs.
"Every designer has a shelf life of creativity," says Bob Boniface, 49, director of exterior design for Cadillac.