Cindy Van Iten-Hurless, 36
Plant Manager, Van Wert, Ohio, Sealing Systems Group, Federal-Mogul Corp.
Education: B.A., business administration and communication, Hope College
First automotive job: As a 12-year-old, she answered phones at her father's automobile dealership, Village Pontiac in Naperville, Ill.
Proudest achievement: "Being part of the team that implemented constraint management (lean manufacturing) at Federal-Mogul back in the early '90s. We saved a plant (Van Wert Sealing Systems plant). That's a crowning achievement. It was the turning point in my career and one of the things I'm most proud of."
On being successful: "First and foremost, I work with excellent people who gave me an opportunity to take the ball and run. I've had good mentors in this company. Some that have left continue to be good mentors. That is the most important thing. I had a lot of autonomy. Federal-Mogul believes in being functionally cross-trained.
I took a lot of knowledge from different functions of my business. I have knowledge of marketing, sales, distribution and manufacturing. It's been hugely beneficial. I advise employees to step out of their area of expertise and build that foundation."
On being a woman in the industry: "I have been more positively than negatively affected, going back to sales. I was Cindy in a sea of Bobs and Bills. Being a woman distinguished me. Sure, I've faced adversity because I'm a woman. But I've been fortunate that that was a nonissue for me within most of my peer situations, and I'm fortunate that I've never been in a situation where my boss was anti-female. If you are a performer, it's recognized regardless of gender. I worried about it more in manufacturing, but I've probably seen it less than in sales situations. In general, for women, discrimination comes in a lot of forms. It's just one of those things you have to be on the lookout for. I don't feel I've run up against it. Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones."
Other positions at Federal-Mogul include:
- 1998-99 Production Control Manager, Van Wert Sealing Systems plant
- 1996-98 Manager, Oil Bath Business Unit, Van Wert plant
- 1994-96 Manager, Railroad Business Unit, Van Wert plant
- 1989-94 Supervisor/Plant Scheduler, Van Wert plant
- 1988-89 Manager, Boston distribution facility