100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry
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Cindy NIEKAMP

Senior Vice President, Automotive Coatings • PPG Industries • Age 51
 
 
 
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Why did you want to work in the auto industry? I had no vision as I grew up in Dayton [Ohio]. My mom was a teacher, my dad a lawyer. Dayton was a GM town. After my freshman year as an engineering student at Purdue, I had two offers for an internship. Dad said, "Follow your heart." I took the job at Delco Moraine, a GM subsidiary.

First automotive job: Production supervisor on a torque-converter clutch assembly line in 1981 for Delco Moraine in Fredericksburg, Va.

Proudest professional achievement: Helping get a nonautomotive merger to work when I was at Mead.

Current challenge at work: Getting through this crisis, restructuring the business, bringing us together and doing well.

Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for a female executive? It's a difficult environment for everybody — and, yes, women, too. A lot of industries are easier. I really wish I could look my two daughters in the eye and say, "This is the right industry for you."

What you do to relax: Not enough. I like to take three-mile walks. I love to travel, especially with my daughters. I become a kid again.

— Jesse Snyder

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