Rose Ryntz, 58
Vice President, Advanced Development and Material Engineering, IAC Group
What attracted you to the auto industry? My brothers, all car enthusiasts. Two of them worked for Chrysler.
First automotive job: Ford Motor Co. in 1985 in paint. When I started and mentioned I once helped my older brother [retouch] his car with a paint brush, they said "Oh, you need to learn how to paint cars."
Big break: I was just starting out and didn't know what I wanted to do. My first mentor, Harvey Ledbetter at Dow Chemical, told me to start networking immediately to get to know the company.
What is the major challenge you've faced in your career? Moving so often. It's hard to keep your friends and make new friends so often. I'm single so it's even hard to keep a dog.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career? My father, who worked so hard to get us started. He taught me you can do anything you put your mind to. He was a tool and die maker without much formal education but was the first person at Carboloy (a subsidiary General Electric established in the 1920s) to learn to operate an early CNC milling machine, which he loved doing.
I was the first person in my family to go to college, a full ride. When I started my doctorate, he worried I would become a "professional student" and never accomplish anything, but when I graduated, he was the first one showing my diploma around the neighborhood. He learned to recognize the value of education.
Tell us about your family. My two sisters and my two surviving brothers and I all live within 25 miles of each other in Macomb County so we see each other often. I inherited mom's dog when she died. She's a mutt, but I love her.
What's your favorite weekend activity? Drinking wine and talking with friends. I still get together with friends from grad school. My favorite is when we get together annually and go somewhere for a golf weekend.
Name one talent you wish you had. I wish I could sing like my mother. She was really good. She once sang with the Glenn Miller Orchestra on the Bob-Lo boat.