Since late 2006, Denise Gray has been the director of global battery systems engineering at General Motors and one of the key people working to bring the Chevrolet Volt to fruition. Gray has overseen all of the testing and development of batteries going into plug and non-plug versions of GM hybrids and extended-range electric vehicles. Gray has also worked with battery suppliers to evaluate new cell technologies that may be used in production vehicles in the future. We've also spoken with her on numerous occasions about the progress of electrical energy storage at GM.

After a career of nearly 30 years, Gray is leaving GM to join a California-based battery start-up. During a conference call earlier this afternoon, Gray could not yet identify her new employer, telling us that an announcement would be coming soon. Gray's last day at GM will be Friday, March 5, 2010. Read more after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]

Gray grew up in Detroit and joined GM as a co-op student during her senior year at Cass Technical High School. She graduated with an electrical engineering degree from GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University) in 1986 and went on to earn a masters from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2000.

At the time that Gray was made director of battery engineering in 2006, there were 25 people dedicated to the team. As she prepares to leave, that number has grown to over 200 not including support staff in other departments like purchasing. Over the past year, she has actually split the director's responsibilities with Ron Jamieson, who has overseen power battery development for non-plug-in hybrid vehicles. Gray has focused on energy batteries for plug-in vehicles like the Volt as well as being the strategic lead on battery development for the next generation Volt. Jamieson will take over Gray's responsibilities on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is named.

Gray emphasized that her decision to leave GM at this time was a difficult one, coming so close to the production launch of the Volt. However, with most of the serious development work on the pack now being complete, this new opportunity was too good to resist. From a personal perspective, the move comes at a good time for Gray. She has one son already attending the University of Michigan and a second two years away from college. Her husband retired from GM two years ago.

Here at ABG, we wish Denise the best of luck in her new endeavor. She has always been very helpful and open with information and we've learned a lot about batteries from her.

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