As global head of seat purchasing for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, 33-year-old Laura Stojan has teams of parts-buyers in every region of the world reporting to her on a daily basis.
It keeps her running.
“I was not sitting at all in supplier quality,” Stojan joked. “We were working hand-in-hand with our suppliers to make sure that they were ready for our launches.”
Stojan worked several years as an engineer with FCA US, then shifted to purchasing in 2015 after managing seat supplier quality for the launches of the Jeep Cherokee in 2013 and Chrysler 200 in 2014.
For those two vehicles, Stojan oversaw 12 suppliers making seating components and handling assemblies, and she managed 11 other supplier quality engineers.
“It was a big challenge for me, especially on two projects that were back to back,” said the 2005 University of Michigan grad. “I came into the group late, and had a lot of choices to make pretty quickly. We ended up with two very successful launches. I saw a bunch of individuals become a well-functioning team.”
Stojan got off to a good start at Chrysler. She benefited from being accepted into a two-year Chrysler Institute of Engineering program that shuffles young engineers through stints in seven different disciplines inside the company, exposing them to all aspects of designing and building a vehicle. The program also allows participants time to pursue master’s in engineering degrees at one of six local universities
“It’s a very prestigious program,” Stojan said, “and for me, it was a good way to get into the auto industry.”
— Larry P. Vellequette