Lori Queen, 49
Vehicle Line Executive, Small Cars, General Motors
Education: B.S., electrical engineering, General Motors Institute
First automotive job: Electrical release engineer for radios at Oldsmobile in 1979
Most fun automotive job: "The (Pontiac) Solstice has been just absolutely a blast, and we really did it (all) from start to launch here. It is so rewarding to see a team come together, the whole team getting excited, and to see media and enthusiasts recognize the car, and customers just go nuts and fall in love with the car. It is so much fun to know that you were part of making that happen."
Career highlights (all with GM)
- 1999-2001 Vehicle chief engineer, small trucks, truck group
- 1997-99 Chief engineer, Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari
- 1996-97 Vehicle chief engineer, full-sized trucks, truck group
- 1993-96 Staff engineer, exterior components, Cadillac/Luxury Car Division
- 1990-93 Director, powertrain/HVAC/underhood, Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac group
Biggest mistake and what you learned: "Knowing what I know now about what I do, I don't think I would have gone into electrical (engineering). I think I would have gone maybe mechanical. Electrical is kind of a specialized area, and I realized that once I got into automotive, I loved the entire vehicle. Maybe it takes you years before you realize that."
Proudest achievement: "I think the Solstice is still the proudest achievement. It will be hard to ever top that in any kind of automotive career."
Current challenge: "I have a number of programs that are my next vehicles, and trying to get those all pulled together and through the system - that is probably the biggest challenge right now."
On being successful: "I think you have to know your customer. I think you have to have a positive, can-do attitude, and I think you have to assimilate all the data that is out there, and there is tons of it. Part of being successful is knowing when there is an opportunity and how to strike at the right time. Timing is everything sometimes in this industry."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "The fickleness of the market. Things that you think should be an absolute success or that have value may not have anything to do with why people buy cars or what they want. Whether it is trends in technology, whether it is trends in safety, whether it is trends in fuel economy or size of car, or SUV versus car, the market is really fickle."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "I think women need to know that women can make a difference, and women can be treated equally. Women can run these jobs like any man can."
Job to which you aspire: "I really, really like doing what I am doing. A vehicle line executive where you are running an entire program is kind of like a general manager. I love this job."
What you do to relax: "I golf. I cook. I do things with my kids. I love to travel and just get away from what is going on day-to-day here. You just have to turn it off sometimes."