Employee Spotlight – David Canella


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Meet David Canella, Advanced Technology Specialist on our Connected Vehicle and Human Machine Interface team in Oshawa.

1)  How long have you been at GM and what is your current role?

I have been with GM for four years now. I started out as a member of our field team visiting dealerships across Western Canada. I’m currently an Advanced Technology Specialist in our Innovation Team’s Connected Vehicle and Human Machine Interface group.

2)  What brought you to GM?

I’ve always been a car guy so when the opportunity arose to join GM, I jumped at the chance. GM has a big Canadian footprint, which creates a lot of opportunities across the country. In the four years that I’ve been here I have visited Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and many towns in between. I’ve worked in our GM CAMI Assembly Plant and I’ve participated in winter vehicle testing at our Kapuskasing Cold Weather Development Centre. Not to mention all the work with Advanced Technology!

3)  What is the most exciting and challenging part of your job?

Our work is user-centric, which means that we start by identifying a customer need and then we get to develop and explore many different technologies, theories and opportunities until we find a solid solution. It is very exciting to explore cutting edge technologies, come up with new ideas and file patents. It is challenging knowing that it’s on you to find a solution that is safe, reliable and that can be mass produced.

4)  How has GM helped you grow?

I grew up in Toronto and studied in Montreal, but it was with GM that I got to experience Western Canada for the first time. I’ve worked on cars and raced them, but GM gave me first-hand experience with how they’re designed, tested and built. I want to learn about all the intricacies of this industry and GM gives me that chance. In fact, I’m writing this after having just represented GM at an International Conference that saw academics and representatives from many OEMs discussing the future of Automotive User Interfaces. I’ve learned a lot.

5)  What’s your favourite GM vehicle?

Chevy Tahoe. I got to drive a 2015 Tahoe LTZ over 900 KM from Calgary to Fort St. John and I’ve loved them ever since. The Bolt is a close second because one-pedal driving is great and instant torque is better.

6)  If you could drive to one place where would it be?

It’s the journey I’m interested in; I’d start in the Yukon and end up somewhere in Newfoundland.

7)  What do you do on your free time?

My happy place is up north where most of the time I’m either working to keep my old lawn tractor going or chopping wood for the next bonfire. At home I have an HTC VIVE and a gaming PC.

8)  What’s the last thing you watched on tv?

Iron Fist, but only in preparation for the next season of Daredevil.

9) What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you recently?

I just got back from vacation in Portugal where I had the chance to ride on my brother-in-law’s boat. I “learned” to sail on protected bays in Lake Ontario, so suffice to say I was thoroughly prepared for this 16’ boat in the open Atlantic.

The funny part was when my nephew (who was hand bailing water at a slower rate than the waves were filling the boat) switched from the small bucket he was using to a pump - only to have it fall apart in his hands. It may have been a sunny and breezy day for the beachgoers basking in the southern European sun, but on our boat it felt like a mashup of The Deadliest Catch and that scene in Armageddon where Lev the Russian astronaut starts hitting the shuttle to make it work. We weren’t in any real danger, but it made for a good laugh around the dinner table.