June 27, 2014 at 9:42 am

Society confidential: GM design chief makes the cut in 'Transformers'

Ed Welburn, a GM vice president, and Jessie Elliott. (General Motors)

Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, has worked with “Transformers” director Michael Bay for years on the GM products used in the films, especially the yellow/orange Chevrolet Camaro that turns into the “Bumblebee” car bot in the films, but now he’s got a small role in the new “Transformers: Age of Extinction” movie, as well.

Welburn plays Mark Wahlberg’s CIA boss, and gets to yell a bit at the hunky actor in scenes filmed at Welburn’s office at the GM Tech Center in Warren, which also did double duty as CIA headquarters. The Camaro/Bumblebee has, of course, been tweaked and updated for the new film. The GM exec attended the film premiere Wednesday at the Ziegfield Theater in New York with his friend, Jessie Elliott, and of course, “Bumblebee.” Knowing the way filmmakers work, Welburn wasn’t counting on his scenes making it into the final movie, so it was a happy surprise when he saw the film Wednesday that his scenes made the cut.

Catching up with a 'Bad Boy'

We caught up with former Detroit Pistons Bad Boy Isiah “Zeke” Thomas on Monday when he was in town hosting a lavish fireworks party at Coach Insignia to benefit Cass Community Services. Looking dapper in a custom-tailored navy striped suit and striped shirt, he brought us up to speed on some of his doings: There are those “discussions” about him possibly becoming a minority owner of the Pistons, but he also has a major waste removal company (just awarded the contract for Hilton Hotels); a high-end, multi-family property in Illinois; and what he’s most excited about is his recent bid on a $300 million development in the Illinois Medical District. “I’m going to be spending a lot of time in Chicago, which is just up the street from Detroit,” he said, flashing that million-dollar smile. “Don’t be surprised if you see me around here a lot, too.”

Flying high with Papa Bush

Donna Yost of Bloomfield Hills got the thrill of a lifetime when she was given the opportunity to present a special gift to President George H. W. Bush on his 90th birthday June 12. Yost has a company called The Life Chest, which produces heirloom-quality chests where people can stash their treasures, instead of in an old shoebox. Last year, while gathering items for her own Life Chest, Donna decided to have herself filmed while jumping out of a plane with a group out of North Carolina called the All Veteran Parachute Team. As fate would have it, that’s the same team that Papa Bush used when he took a jump on his birthday up in Kennebunkport, Maine. With the help of All Veteran founder Mike Elliott, Donna created a special Life Chest for the former president, complete with gold-plated presidential seal and patriotic memorabilia, and flew to Maine with it. After the jump, “George W. gave his dad a high five, and they brought him over to me,” Donna recalled. “I presented the chest to him and kissed him on his cheek. He is so adorable and humble. To date, this is the most remarkable item in my Life Chest, a moment I will always treasure.”

swhitall@detroitnews.com
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Donna Yost of Bloomfield Hills greets former President George H.W. Bush at ... (Charles Cooley)