Amy Farmer, 55
Plant Manager, Flint Assembly and the Flint Metal Center, General Motors
Why did you want to work in the auto industry? I didn't start out in the auto industry. That wasn't my focus. I graduated and went to work for a private businessperson for six or seven months. I came to be here through an application that was provided to me by a family member. I grew up on the east side of Flint surrounded by General Motors, and I did not go to GMI, but here I am.
First automotive job: August 1977, in materials, expediting parts. I spent my first 17 years in materials. I've done about every plant and staff function in the material line.
Proudest professional achievement: That I still love coming here every day and that the people I work with are still willing to work with me as a leader and move forward with all the things that we're trying to change as a company. When you're continuously working on changing culture and people are willing to stick with you through it -- that's something that makes me feel really good.
Current challenge at work: We're launching two new products at the assembly plant -- the new heavy-duty truck line and the light-duty truck line. We've brought a lot of work inside the building and had a fair amount of construction to change the facility. We're also installing new press lines at the stamping facility. It's taking 12 to 18 months to complete the full cycle of some of those changes.
Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for female executives? I don't think I see it that way. I've been given a lot of opportunity inside this company. The industry has changed a lot since I've been here. When I started, there weren't too many women that worked in the assembly plants, and today it's just second nature. As an industry, we've really grown a lot in that we're accepting of people and what they bring to the industry.
On being a woman in the auto industry in 1977: When I first started, one of the people I worked with had been my bus driver when I was in elementary school. Another one was a very dear friend of my grandfather's. It was very different for the men who had always been there, and I always tried to keep that in mind.
What you do to relax: Boating, outdoor activities, sports. We have a house in northern Michigan. We take advantage of what the state has to offer. It's a beautiful place to live.