Design Engineering

Experts to steer GM Automotive Centre of Excellence at UOIT


General ACE Automotive Centre of Excellence

New team will oversee the operations of the first commercial automotive research, development and innovation centre of its kind.

The new Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) announced the appointment of Gary Elfstrom as the director of business development and John Komar as the director of engineering and operations. Both men are engineers with extensive experience having worked in Canada and abroad designing, building and managing proving grounds and technically advanced test facilities, particularly in the area of aeronautical and automotive testing.

ACE is being developed in partnership with UOIT, General Motors of Canada Ltd., the Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE), the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada. It will be a multi-level centre with an area of approximately 16,300 square metres.


Gary Elfstrom (left) is the new director of business development for the Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). John Komar (right) is ACE’s new director of engineering and operations.

“To operate a complex testing, development and innovation centre like ACE you need highly specialized people, and we are thrilled to have both Gary and John on board,” said Tom Austin, vice-president of Finance and chief financial officer at UOIT. “They both have a wealth of global experience designing, starting up and operating wind tunnels and world-class proving grounds.”

Among his many accomplishments, Elfstrom was a co-founder and later vice-president of business development at Aiolos Engineering, a Toronto-based global company that designs, builds and maintains test facilities around the world including wind tunnels. In fact, Aiolos designed the climatic wind tunnel in ACE. Elfstrom holds a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of London (Imperial College) in England.

For more than 23 years Komar has worked at GM in various capacities, most recent overseeing the design, development and construction of all aspects of the ACE facility while managing GM’s Cold Weather Development Centre in Kapuskasing, Ontario. Komar holds a Master in Mechanical Engineering degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

The new team will also include Dongyool Jung, a mechanical engineer who has worked for GM and the Hyundai Motor Company in Korea; Warren E. Karlson, a mechanical engineer and Randy Burnet, an electrical engineer, who both worked for GM in various capacities. Combined, this group of engineers brings more than 100 years of wind tunnel, proving ground and test lab experience to the ACE facility.


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