Margaret Hackstedde, 50
Director, Product Design, Color and Trim Design, Chrysler Group
Education: B.A., interior design, Michigan State University
First automotive job: Trim and color designer in the product design office at Ford Motor Co. in 1977
Most fun automotive job: "I think the things that have been the most fun are the concept cars. Here at DaimlerChrysler the same designers that do color and trim for production vehicles do the concept cars. It is always an exciting assignment for us because we get to select materials and use paint colors that don't have to meet all the usual specifications. We can venture out and select maybe something like furniture material and some really exotic paint that you don't have to be worried if it will fade out in the sun in a few years."
- 1995-98 Chief designer, product design, color and trim design, Chrysler Corp.
- 1991-95 Design program manager, color studio, Chrysler Corp.
- 1988-91 Senior product designer, color studio, Chrysler Corp.
- 1984-88 Product designer A, color studio, Chrysler Corp.
- 1982-84 Product designer B, color studio, Chrysler Corp.
- 1980-82 Residential interior designer, J.L. Hudson department store
- 1977-80 Product designer, color and trim, Ford
Proudest achievement: "Probably being promoted to this position."
Current challenge: "Create exciting-looking interiors as far as materials, finishes and grains on a specific budget."
On being successful: "A lot of hard work and personal effort is definitely required."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "We make a lot of last-minute changes. Maybe it is because what I deal with are a lot of subjective things as far as color and materials. You get a lot of opinions. It comes from everywhere. It comes from a research clinic or a ride-and-drive. It can be customer input, dealer input. We get a lot of comments, and some things we need to react to."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "There are a lot of opportunities available. I think all they have to do is show a strong interest and be a hard worker.
"I think the whole focus on diversity today is to everyone's benefit because it more strongly reflects the people we are designing vehicles for and who ultimately will buy them. So I think there are just lots of opportunities to be had."
What you do to relax: "I started riding ponies at the age of 5. Currently I own three horses and compete as an adult amateur in hunters and dressage competitions on a regional and national level."