Diane Allen, 40
Chief Designer for Red Studio, an exterior-design studio, Nissan Design International Inc., Nissan
Education: B.S., transportation design, Center for Creative Studies
First automotive job: Internship summer 1983 in the advanced design department at Ford Motor Co. working on exterior design for the Probe series
Proudest achievement: "The (2001) Frontier facelift. We had limited panel count that we could change. (But) we dramatically transformed the truck from meek to something quite bold. Facelifts are not considered desirable projects to work on. They're treating (Frontier) as an all-new truck. It's exciting to see the response to what we've done."
On being successful: "I think a lot of it comes from personal style, of what I bring as a person. I have a lot of energy that I put into engaging people to get excited on something and focusing on product and making it an enjoyable experience. I work hard at making people feel vested, and when they feel they are vested, the excitement gets even higher."
On being a woman in the industry: "When I first discovered auto design, finding out there were few women and knowing it could be an opportunity for me inspired me to do it. I've always loved working with men. Growing up with brothers, it was an environment in which I could survive."
Before becoming chief designer for Nissan's Red Studio in 1996, Allen spent 12 years as a designer at Nissan Design International. She participated in such programs as the Quest minivan, the Gobi show truck and the second-generation Altima. She also worked on the design of nonautomotive products, including a golf club for Taylor Made, a personal computer for RDI Corp. and children's furniture for Angeles Base Line Furniture in Missouri.