David W. Hermance, Toyota's top North American engineer for advanced technology vehicles, died Nov. 25 while performing aerobatic maneuvers in his plane off the coast of San Pedro, CA. He was 59.
Hermance served as Toyota's hybrid engineering ambassador in the U.S. "Dave Hermance was a gifted engineer and was highly respected by his peers in the automotive industry," said Yasuhiko Ichihashi, president of Toyota Technical Center, USA. "Dave's strong communication skills were instrumental in educating the public on Toyota's hybrid technology. He possessed unique skills which cannot be replaced."
Hermance spent the first 26 years of his automotive career with General Motors where he led Durability Test Development and served in a variety of roles in the Vehicle Emissions Laboratory.
In 1991, Hermance joined Toyota Technical Center U.S.A. in the Gardena, CA facility as senior manager in engine evaluation with responsibility for evaluating North American passenger car engines. In 1992 he was promoted to general manager of the Powertrain Department where he was responsible for the development of engine and drivetrain calibrations for the North American market. He went on to become the executive engineer for advanced technology vehicles and oversaw advanced technology communication for the North American market and regulatory activities in California.
Hermance earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the General Motors Institute. He was an avid pilot who enjoyed aerobatic flying. With his flight instructor father, Hermance began learning to fly at 14, soloed at age 16, and earned his private pilot's license during college.
The family requests that expressions of sympathy be sent to the Hermance family in care of Toyota at: Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing, North America, 1630 West 186th St., Gardena, CA 90248. The family requests that donations be made to The American Diabetes Association Research Foundation in the name of Dave Hermance at: Attn: Maria Price, 1701 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311.