Gordon Platto – Gordo to friends and colleagues – followed his father’s stern advice, putting his passion aside and earning a business administration degree from Western Michigan University.
“My father strongly encouraged me to get a business degree,” said Platto. “He didn’t believe that automotive design – ‘drawing pretty pictures’ – represented a sustainable career path. He was a successful GM executive, so I followed his direction to the letter.”
And yet an internal fire still burned.
“While at Western, I was always sketching and dreaming of designing cars,” Platto reflected. “When I shared this dream with my parents, they said if you have enough ambition after you obtain a ‘real’ degree, we’ll let you attend the Transportation Design program at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. So after four additional years of college, I earned my bachelor of fine arts and started at Ford immediately thereafter.”
Platto’s perspective on going to college twice?
“My business education provides an excellent counterpoint to my eye for design aesthetics. It has helped me to be grounded in the realities of the business when I’m creating and refining the design for a vehicle.”
Working his way through the design ranks over 20 years with Ford, Platto spent considerable time honing designs for the market-leading F-Series pickup trucks. Most recently, he led the design process for several Lincoln models such as the MKS sport sedan, the distinctive MKT crossover and the show-stopping MKR concept vehicle.
His thoughts on the next Taurus?
“Our design objectives for this vehicle were very clear,” offered Platto. “First, we aimed to make Taurus a sportier proposition across the board. Next, we sought to increase design differentiation between series models. Customers, particularly Taurus SHO enthusiasts, asked us to keep the new SHO subtle and understated, but to differentiate it from the Taurus SE, SEL and Limited models with unique design touches.”
Obsessed and inspired by “anything and everything” mechanical and by vintage furniture, Platto is the married father of two sons, ages 14 and 11.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.
April 19, 2011