On April 1, 2009, Thomas G. Stephens was named General Motors vice chairman, global product operations. In December 2009, his role was expanded to include oversight of the global purchasing organization. Stephens had served as GM executive vice president of GM Global Powertrain and Global Quality since March 3, 2008. He continues to oversee GM's Global Quality activity. Stephens began his career with General Motors in 1969 as an hourly employee at the Chevrolet Engineering Center in Warren, Michigan, under the University of Michigan's student co-op program. Upon graduation, he became a junior engineer at the Cadillac Motor Car Division in Detroit. He served the next nine years as an experimental engineer and staff project engineer in the experimental laboratories before being promoted to supervisor of product engineering in 1980. Two years later, Stephens was named staff engineer of emissions and transmissions. In 1985, he joined the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Powertrain Division as senior staff engineer of transmissions and powertrain controls. He served as assistant chief engineer for Cadillac's 4.5 liter V8 engine. In 1988, he was promoted to plant manager at the B-O-C Powertrain Livonia Engine Plant. In 1990, Stephens was named director of engineering for GM Engine Division. He became director of engine engineering for GM Powertrain in December 1991, when the division was formed. He was appointed engineering operations general manager for GM Powertrain Group in Pontiac, Michigan, in July 1993. In March 1994, he was elected a GM vice president. From May 1996 through December 2000, Stephens was GM vice president and group director of engineering operations for the GM Truck Group. He was appointed vice president of vehicle integration in January 2001 and held this position prior to being named group vice president for GM Global Powertrain July 1, 2001. On January 1, 2007, Stephens' responsibilities were expanded, and he was appointed group vice president, GM Global Powertrain and Global Quality. In 1971, Stephens received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. He serves on the board of directors for FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, and he is also a member of the Detroit Science Center board of trustees and serves on the University of Michigan National Advisory Council. In February 2007, Stephens was elected as a new member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), for his leadership role in the development of automotive powertrains with improved performance, fuel efficiency, and lower emissions.