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Lawrence D. Burns

Director of the Program on Sustainable Mobility, Columbia
Business Advisor, Author and Speaker
Franklin, MI
Larry Burns, Ph.D., advises organizations on the future of mobility, logistics, manufacturing, energy and innovation. Dr. Burns served as General Motors corporate vice president of research & development and planning from 1998-2009. While at GM, Dr. Burns quadrupled the number of patents issued to GM researchers and increased intellectual property publications fivefold. He closely aligned GM’s R&D with core business operations and increased partnering, especially with universities, governments, and energy companies.

Between 2010 and 2016, Dr. Burns was Professor of Engineering Practice at the University of Michigan, Director of the Program for Sustainable Mobility at Columbia University, and an advisor to several major companies.

Currently, Dr. Burns is a consultant for Waymo (Previously Google Self-Driving Cars); a member of the Board of Directors for Peloton Technology Inc.; and member of the Advisory Board and consultant for Kitson & Partners. His newest book is Autonomy: The Quest to Build The Driverless Car—And How It Will Reshape Our World (with Christopher Shulgan).

A major voice for the “reinvention of the automobile” and the diversification of transportation energy, Dr. Burns has championed vehicle electrification, “connected” vehicles, driverless vehicles, fuel cells, bio-fuels, advanced batteries, innovative concept vehicles, and operations research. He is a leading advocate for design and technology innovation focused on the total customer experience and is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering and ITS America Hall of Fame.

Dr. Burns has a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds a Master of Science in Engineering/Public Policy from the University of Michigan; and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University). A highly sought-after speaker in his areas of expertise, Dr. Burns has given over 500 keynote, conference, and media presentations since 1998, including broadcast news programs and investor conferences.