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Carrie Uhl

Magna International

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Vice President of Procurement, Americas, Magna International
Troy, Mich.

Age: 42

Education: B.S., human and organizational development, Vanderbilt University

What attracted you to the auto industry? When I was a procurement manager at Guardian Industries, there was something new every day. The product lines changed quickly, and there were always new innovations.

First automotive job: Lear in 2002 was my first job that was 100 percent automotive. I was responsible for buying foam products — seating foam, chemicals and some die-cut foams — the basic raw materials.

Big break: Coming to Magna. It was the first place where I felt I could do anything. If you have a good idea, you can run with it. I love the entrepreneurial culture.

What is the major challenge you've faced in your career? Managing the supply chain through the downturn in the late 2000s was probably the toughest period in my career. The whole supply chain had to learn how to deliver more with less. Cost containment was difficult without volumes to cover overhead expenditures.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career? Early on, my mentor was Joe Bruce, the vice president of purchasing at Guardian. I was in my twenties, and he gave me a lot of confidence. When I got this job at Magna, he sent me a card. I still look at it.

What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry? It all comes back to awareness and education. You've got to start at a young age. Women in the industry should talk at high schools and get the message out to groups like the Girl Scouts. Then the excitement of the industry sells itself.

Tell us about your family. We have five children.

What's your favorite weekend activity? I like to take short road trips with my husband and kids. We'll find places that have some of my favorite foods. I'm always searching for the best pizza place or an ice cream place.

By David Sedgwick

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