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Local News / Automotive

Saturday, 25 September, 2010 0:35 AM

Top 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry announced

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Eighty-six of the top 100 women in the North American automotive industry at the Max M. Fisher Music Center on Sept. 21, 2010.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

DETROIT -- Eighty-six of the top 100 leading women in the North American automotive industry were present on Tuesday evening at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in downtown Detroit. It was an event hosted by Automotive News. Recipents came from the three domestic automakers (GM, Ford and Chrysler), the union, as well as suppliers, dealerships and other organizations. The ceremony also included remarks from Rita Case of the Rick Cause Automotive Group, Nancy Fein of Toyota, Barb Samardzich of Ford and Cindy Niekamp of PPG Industries.

Awards were handed out in the categories of retail, sales, marketing, finance, human resources, other disciplines, purchasing, design, engineering, general management, information technology and manufacturing.

"In my opinion and experience, there are three strategic business practices in the new car dealererships that are not compatible with motivating women," said Rita Case, vice president of the Rick Case Automotive Group. "The first one is our negotiating process in the sales department. Customers feel their trade is worth more because of online information, which is sometimes inaccurate. The last is our hours of operation. We're open seven days a week for sales and service. I feel that women have more obligations after work."

Nancy Weber, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Meredith Corporation, presented the company's annual automotive scholarships. The scholarships went to two students who attend the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

"I started in this industry 28 years ago and at that time, I don't think you could find 100 leaders in this industry," said Nancy Fein, vice president of customer relations at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. "There were zero women executives and there were zero in the pipeline. The 100 women in this are the real trailblazers and they remain the trailbrazers. They have made it safe for other people to step up in this industry. It's making our business even stronger for the future."

Women make up almost half of the labor pool in the United States, according to a new report from Deloitte LLP. The study also says that women receive more than 60 percent of graduate degrees.

"No one male or female achieves the success being recognized here tonight without the support, the help and the sacrifice of their partners and family," said Barb Samardzich, vice president of powertrain engineering at Ford Motor Company. "I believe this time around, Automotive News had about 300 or so nominees for the top 100 women that they had to sift through. My challenge and my hope is that five years from now when they do this again, they will be sifting through 3,000 nominees to find the top 100 women."

Inforum, a professional women's alliance, announced its new initiative Automotive NEXT at the ceremony. Automotive NEXT will bring together the top minds in the automotive and manufacturing fields. The goal is to assist in the hiring of capable women at automotive-related companies.

"We are today, a time in the industry when we need more than ever the best and the brightest talent that we can find," said Cindy Niekamp, senior vice president of automotive coatings at PPG Industries. "I fear that we are at a time when it's going to be increasingly difficult to attract and retain that talent. I like to say that we have been through the meat grinder. With this change, we've seen a lot of newcomers. We have new leaders in the industry, we have new owners in this industry. We have new colleagues and employees. We are changing the fabric of the industry. Diversity is one piece of the solution as we go forward."

Automotive News hosts the Top 100 leading women in the North American automobile industry event every five years. In 2005, the ceremony was held at the GM Renaissance Center.

Click here for the complete list of the Top 100 leading women in the North American automobile industry.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Keith Crain, Editor-in-Chief of Automotive News, welcomed everyone to the event.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Rita Case is the Vice President of the Rick Case Automotive Group.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Nancy Fein is the Vice President of Customer Relations at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Barb Samardzich is the Vice President of Powertrain Engineering at Ford Motor Company.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Cindy Niekamp is the Senior Vice President of Automotive Coatings at PPG Industries.

 

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