Durant-Dort Factory One, Flint, Mich.
Kevin Kirbitz’ engineering expertise, Buick pedigree and deep knowledge of General Motors have converged into an automotive historian’s dream job: witnessing the
transformation of the 19th century Durant-Dort Carriage Company factory into a modern community resource that also honors the innovators and risk-takers who helped
make GM possible.
As the first-ever operations manager of Durant-Dort Factory One, Kirbitz is responsible for the overall, day-today management of the facility, including coordinating special events, exhibits, the use of meeting space and other duties. The newly renovated facility, once one of the largest carriage factories in the world, is considered the birthplace of GM.
Kirbitz also has put his stamp on the company through more than 35 years of engineering experience in manufacturing, quality, and product development. A past GM Chairman’s Honors winner, Kirbitz was most recently an engineering manager in Advanced Vehicle Development at GM’s Technical Center.
In addition to his engineering awards, Kirbitz, a Flint native whose parents spent a combined 62 years at GM, has been recognized for his passion for documenting and preserving automotive and local history. His work has been cited in a number of books related to GM and Buick history, including The Buick: A Complete History and Images of
America, Chevrolet. He collaborated with former colleague and author Lawrence R. Gustin on David Buick’s Marvelous Motor Car: The Men and the Automobile that Launched General Motors.
Kirbitz’ work also has appeared in the Buick Club of America’s Bugle and the Society of Automotive Historians’ Automotive History Review. For his writing skills and contributions, in 2008 he received the Buick Club of America/Terry Dunham Literary Award and Buick Motor Division’s Buick Heritage Trophy for his research on David Buick’s early life and career.
As a teen, Kirbitz designed an award-winning logo for the opening of Crossroads Village, an enclave of relocated 19th century buildings and narrow-gauge railroad located north of Flint.
Kirbitz earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in manufacturing management from General Motors Institute, now Kettering University. He serves on the boards of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company Foundation; Back to the Bricks; Buick Heritage Alliance; and Carman Cougar Charities Corporation.
He lives in Grand Blanc, Mich. with his wife, Denise, whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather worked at Buick. They have two grown children – Michael, a GM engineer at the Milford Proving Ground (who is also married to a GM engineer); and Kellie, a pediatric oncology nurse.