Director of business unit purchasing, Adient North America
Big break: Being promoted to a director level position at Faurecia, allowing her to break into a male-dominated space and work on big-picture managerial goals
When Julie Rudy began studying at Michigan State University, she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. After contemplating a career in criminal justice, she decided automotive supply chain management combined her interest in solving problems and her love for the Detroit area.
“At the time, supply chain was really blossoming and becoming a popular field,” Rudy told Automotive News. “ And that, coupled with the fact that I was born and raised in metro Detroit, was a very natural fit with the complexities of the automotive industry and the different applications of supply chain within it.”
Rudy, now director of business unit purchasing at automotive supplier Adient, began her career in the management training program at DaimlerChrysler in 2002. She later worked as a procurement quality manager at FEV Inc. before moving to Faurecia, which appointed her to a director level position in 2016.
“At the time, the diversity, not only with race but also with gender, wasn’t what it is today,” Rudy said. “There weren’t as many female directors, and so it really felt like that was kind of a pivotal moment in my career to go from the manager level to being a manager of managers.”
In 2019, Rudy joined Adient, where she works to support all purchasing activity. She said a career in the automotive industry isn’t for everyone, but the fast-paced working environment ensures there are always new problems to solve.
The industry “keeps you sharp,” Rudy said, “but it also allows you to apply the knowledge you’ve built up over the years and the experiences you have to solve those problems more effectively every day.”
Rudy said her biggest accomplishments have involved turning around underperforming departments and organizations and making them productive and profitable.
“I came in, and this group was not operating efficiently, not meeting expectations together. We turned all of that around,” Rudy said. “And now we’ve got this team that just hums and works together, like a well-oiled machine, and people are happy to be on this team, and people feel proud to be on this team.”
Outside her job, Rudy said she enjoys spending time with her husband and four school-age children, doing yoga and riding her motorcycle.
— George Weykamp