Alexandria Maciag, 57
Director of Manufacturing, North America Automatic Transmission Operations, Ford Motor Co.
What attracted you to the auto industry? I tried it as a summer job after my freshman year and discovered I could earn enough to pay my tuition and get my degree.
First automotive job: In 1977, as a press line operator in Ford's Buffalo Stamping Plant
Big break: Moving to Detroit and transferring divisions into powertrain
What is the major challenge you've faced in your career? The lack of an engineering degree. I came from a STEM background, but with an engineering degree, I could have advanced faster and had the ability to move into other areas.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career? My husband has been very supportive. He and my family have been willing to support whatever I needed to do. He's flexible.
What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry? There could be more effort to show women what roles in the auto industry look like.
Tell us about your family. I have two stepdaughters, and we have a son, 23. The girls and their families are all in Vermont, and our son is in Michigan.
What's your favorite weekend activity? Golfing, especially with my husband.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? My father. He passed away early in my career. He always encouraged me. He told me, "You can do anything you want to do."
When and where was your last vacation? In July, my husband and I played a lot of golf at our second home in Florida.
Best advice you've ever gotten? "Never quit." In the Buffalo stamping plant, when I became a supervisor, the superintendent knew the crew was going to make it tough for me. He told me to always keep going no matter what. I got through it.