Richard keynoting a leadership conference for architects and engineers with a talk entitled, "Building the Largest Industrial Corporation in the World Through Design Leadership."

Talk at the Royal College of Art

This Story Holds Multi-faceted Appeal

For automotive, architecture and technology audiences: History is taught in every school because it’s accepted that to understand the present and prepare for the future it’s important to understand the past. As a true Renaissance man, Harley Earl critically shaped, if not outright formed, today’s modern auto industry by introducing a formalized Car Design Profession, i.e., an advanced production method that has held the test of time. Intimately understanding the breadth and scope of his life, career and legacy is not only interesting, it’s extremely important.

For businesses: Harley’s business milestones – dynamic obsolescence via annual styling model changes, the creation of concept cars, innovative marketing techniques like G.M.'s famed Motorama Shows of the 1950s, the standardization of corporate secrecy - literally changed the face of capitalism. Much of what created Apple’s enormous success harkens back to the practices and philosophies introduced by Harley Earl, who truly was the secret behind the success of G.M. (took this auto maker into the Design business), the greatest industrial company of the 20th century. 

For Military personnel and veterans: Find out Harley Earl’s fascinating career history with the U.S. military and the critical but lesser known role he played in World War II.

For art and design students: From being the first in his industry to hire women and openly gay men, to plunking a Parisian-style atelier in the middle of a Detroit auto-plant, Harley Earl wasn’t afraid to shake things up and his ability as an entrepreneur to take risks and follow his instincts helped create the modern auto industry. Inspire your students with the knowledge that, like Harley, they too can not only break the mold, they can fashion an entirely new one and make an indelible impact. 

Testimonials from previous speaking events:

"I had Richard speak at our national conference for Industrial Designers. He was smashing! In short, Richard Earl is the most provocative, educated and well-spoken person I know in the car industry…an expert on Harley Earl and all things GM – past, present and future. I can only describe Harley Earl’s story as the “Seabiscuit” of the auto industry."

 -       Frank Tyneski, Executive Director of the IDSA from '07 to '08 and former G.M. Design Exec                                                                                                                                                                   "Thank you for keynoting our 75th anniversary meeting. Your program was well attended and I heard great things about the information you provided. Our members found it interesting and we’re happy to hear the history of your grandfather’s participation in the car industry for so many years. In addition, your willingness to answer questions and visit with our members after the official program was really well accepted!"

-       Shayna Geller, Annual Meeting Event Director, Antique Automobile Club of America

"We interviewed Richard for our feature length documentary, Art Car: The Movie. He was fantastic. It was a compelling interview. His knowledge of the American automotive design industry is vast and his passion infectious. Any audience would be lucky to hear him speak."

-       Carlton Ahrens & Ford Gunter, Independent Film Directors