Maria Kremer, 37
Program Manager, Safety Electronics, Siemens Automotive
Education: B.S., electrical engineering, General Motors Institute
First automotive job: Associate Plant Engineer at Chevrolet Saginaw (Mich.) Manufacturing, 1986
Proudest achievement: "My involvement in bringing a new product (side airbag controller) from quote phase all the way through into production. It was very exciting to be part of a team that took quotes and specs - words on paper - and turned it into a product rolling down a production line."
On being successful: "I have found that to be successful, you must work hard - long hours - complete tasks that are not necessarily easy or pleasant. You should try to be the type of person that can be counted on to get things done. I think that one of the most important factors in a successful career is knowing when to ask questions. When you don't know something, ask. Rely on the expertise of your colleagues. Work as part of a team. If your team is successful, you will be successful."
On being a woman in the industry: "Being a woman in the auto industry can be very difficult - not because you're a woman, but because the auto industry is a tough industry. The trend in automotive electronics is toward shorter development times, lower cost, smaller packages. Men and women alike face these same pressures and challenges. I don't think that I run into as many barriers as women have had to deal with in the past. When I do, I just look for my way around the barrier and move on. It helps to have colleagues (male and female) that you can go to for advice. Always maintain a sense of humor."
- 1990-96 Software Engineer and Manager of Software Engineering, ABS and traction control software, Kelsey-Hayes, Detroit
- 1988-90 Applications Engineer and Software Engineer, Industrial PCs and smart monitors, Nematron Corp., Ann Arbor, Mich.