Transportation Cabinet
Former auto industry executive appointed commissioner of Department of Vehicle Regulation

Press Release Date:  Friday, October 23, 2009  
Contact Information:  Chuck Wolfe, 502-564-3419  

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Thomas O. Zawacki, who compiled a record of managerial accomplishment during a lengthy career in the automotive industry, has been appointed commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation by Gov. Steve Beshear.


Zawacki, whose appointment was effective Oct. 16, retired in June from Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America. He was general manager of the General Affairs Department, with offices in Georgetown and Erlanger.


As commissioner, Zawacki will oversee a department with three divisions: Driver Licensing, Motor Carriers and Motor Vehicle Licensing.


“I’m honored to be considered for this position,” said Zawacki.  “I believe my long history of administrative management experience can bring value to the Transportation Cabinet and to the citizens of the commonwealth.”


Acting Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said Zawacki’s expertise and managerial ability are well-suited to a department that provides essential public services in every corner of the commonwealth.


“Tom’s vast leadership experience will be a valuable asset for the Transportation Cabinet,” Hancock said.


In 22 years with Toyota, Zawacki’s responsibilities ran the gamut from purchasing to production planning and new project management, facilities control, environmental engineering, corporate and business services, community relations and corporate communications.


Prior to joining Toyota, he was purchasing section manager for Nissan Motor Manufacturing USA. He began his career in the industry as a buyer for Ford Motor Co. in 1976.

In Kentucky, Zawacki also serves as chairman of the Board of Regents of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and is a former chairman of the KCTCS Foundation. He also served on the boards of the Japan-America Society of Kentucky and United Way of the Bluegrass and as president of the Center for Creative People and Organizations. He is a former chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Lexington Urban League and the Georgetown Community Hospital.


Zawacki is a native of Birmingham, Mich., and a graduate of Ferris State University. He holds a master’s in procurement management from Webster University. He and his wife, Debbie, reside in Georgetown. They have two married daughters and two grandchildren.