A Salute to TechLink Contributor Dave Nowak

Meticulous may be the best way to describe Dave Nowak. Everything he had a hand in was detailed, thoughtfully planned out, and developed with a keen understanding of how the results would affect others. This goes for his professional work at GM as well as his personal life with his family.

 

Sadly, Dave passed away recently after complications from surgery. He was a longtime TechLink contributor — close to 17 years — and a Senior Project Engineer for Diagnostic Strategy with the Diagnostic Strategies and Methods Team for GM Customer Care and Aftersales in Warren, Michigan. (Fig. 7)

 

Fig. 7

 

Dave’s involvement with TechLink over the years has been invaluable. His detailed knowledge of electrical diagnosis as well as his insight of the challenges dealership technicians face each day helped shape our mission, while doing so with candor, intelligence, and some humor too.

 

Dave began his career turning wrenches at an AMC dealership. After more than a decade in the service bay, with a quickly growing technical background and a keen understanding of how to share that information with others,  he spent four years as an instructor teaching automotive electronics classes. From there, he worked helping GM and IBM with the testing of CAMS (Computerized Automotive Maintenance System) — the first machine of its type used in the industry for electrical diagnosis, albeit with a unique reputation in dealerships — before joining GM in the early 1990s as an Advance Electrical Service Engineer with the Service Technology Group (STG).

 

In his work developing electronic diagnostic procedures in the Service Information, Dave was truly hands-on. He created GM’s global service manual authoring guidelines for electrical diagnostic procedures and became a GM global subject matter expert on how to diagnose electrical problems. Maybe what made Dave so good at what he did was in how he always looked out for technicians by searching for any real-world issues that would affect diagnostics and repairs, whether that was revising component testing, determining scan tool inputs, or how to use the results of a simple resistance test. Dave was recognized for his efforts with a U.S. patent for establishing a methodology for service manual consistency.

 

Dave’s penchant for details was evident outside of the office too. He was an avid woodworker and built his own furniture. One year, his grandkids each got a homemade miniature log cabin, with individual, hand-stained logs, as a Christmas gift. Dave even printed directions and diagrams on how to build the cabin using all of the different logs.

 

Of course, everything in his garage was in excellent condition, including his Cavalier convertible (maybe the last in Michigan!) and his 2002 Suburban. (Fig. 8) After all, this was a man who took apart his refrigerator to modify the fan so it would run cooler. A testament to Dave’s passion for making things better, his daily-driver Suburban was included as part of the truck’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2011. It turned out that GM had Suburban models in its collection to represent every major model year except 2002. When a call went out to GM employees looking for a 2002 model, Dave offered up his Suburban, which was in pristine condition and fit right in with the historical collection.

 

Fig. 8

 

Dave will be missed by all of us at GM Customer Care and Aftersales. His mantra was to stick to the basics but do it well. He felt everything needed a solid foundation first before you could begin to build upon it. Our foundation here at TechLink is now a little weaker, but we wouldn’t be where we are without him. Thanks Dave.

 

– Thanks to the many friends and colleagues of Dave Nowak

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Jerry Garfield says:

    One of the best. I enjoyed working with him.

  2. A fitting tribute to a colleague who made a difference and who sadly left us before his time.