Marcy Fisher, 41
Director, Design Engineering, Ford Motor Co.
Education: B.S., mechanical engineering, University of Michigan; M.B.A., University of Michigan
What your college professors didn't teach you: "The actual application (of engineering) is a lot different in the real world because in the real world you are not just dealing with engineering. You are actually dealing with people issues and business issues."
First automotive job: Process engineer at Ford in 1986
Most fun automotive job: "It has to be this one. Part of the reason I wanted to come here is to actually influence the product and get closer to the product development process. The job that I have right now allows me to touch the entire vehicle - interior and exterior."
Career highlights (all with Ford)
- 2000-02 Chief engineer, final assembly engineering
- 1998-2000 Manager, final assembly engineering, large-vehicle center
- 1997-98 Manager, North American knockdown operations
Proudest achievement: "Two things are significant.
"The first one is the position I am in right now. The organization did not exist two and a half years ago that I run right now. We knew that we had a problem, that we weren't able to get out of the studio when we wanted to because we had so many feasibility issues. I was brought in completely with no background or knowledge really of the design process and asked to fix that problem and develop an organization and people in that organization that could help fix that problem. (Today) getting out of the studio is not a problem with feasibility at all.
"The second thing is from my manufacturing days. I had responsibility in that position for trim, final and chassis assembly systems and processes for all the plants.
"We decided that we were going to change how we looked at our processes and that we were going to start with the human and build a process around the human, not start with the workstation. We were able to take jobs that hurt people in the past and eliminate them."
Current challenge: "The challenges that we have are identifying every place we want to make significant improvements, figuring what it takes to get us there and then delivering on that."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "I'm going to go back to when I first joined the company. I walked the first time in an assembly plant, and I looked at how complicated a vehicle is.
"It doesn't really hit you because you don't see all of that stuff when you sit in a car. But when you watch a vehicle being built, and you see the number of components that go into that vehicle, it truly is an engineering marvel. You walk through the whole line, and you get to the end of the line, and there they are, starting the cars up at the end of the line. I remember being awe-struck by that."
What you do to relax: "I hang out with my family, whether it is having great conversation, having a laugh."