Why did you want to work in the auto industry? It was a couple things — not so much automotive but manufacturing. I like being very hands-on. I like seeing the results at the end of the day. And in the automotive industry, you get to work with a lot of people. And that's my other love, the human interaction.

First automotive job: General Motors Institute co-op student at GM's Pontiac West assembly plant in 1986.

Proudest professional achievement: Having the opportunity to drive the first [Chevrolet] Volt off the line was topped by having the president drive me off the line when he visited. I was a rock star at home that night.

Current challenge at work: The

visibility of what we're doing here at Detroit-Hamtramck can lead to distractions. I put a lot of time into keeping distractions at a minimum. We're building some Volts right now, but there is a Cadillac DTS in front and a [Buick] Lucerne behind. The customer for those cars doesn't care that there was a Volt in between.

Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for female executives? I think largely it's fear of the unknown because people don't necessarily know what we do in this environment. It is true that in the manufacturing environment you have to have rhinoceros skin.

Explaining her job: When people figure out what I do for a living, I get a quizzical look, then a "No way!" or "How cool is that!" The outside world is still pretty surprised that we have women doing this.

What you do to relax: Sleep! [laughs] Cooking for me and my kids is actually kind of relaxing for me. I do a lot of gardening, a lot of glasswork. I make paver blocks with inlaid stained glass — I have to work this summer on my soldering technique. I'm very hands-on when I go home, too.

— Dave Guilford

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