Women Behind Chicago Stamping Plant's Explorer/Aviator Launch

This past March, after 35 year and 6 generations, Chicago Stamping Plant built its last Ford Taurus. The team had an end of an era celebration for The Taurus, not just because it was leaving, but for what was about to come; new products, new equipment upgrades, and a launch the facility has not seen in years. The launch of the all new Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. Some of the changes involved to CSP’s facility included removing and installing 14 brand new lines, as well as replacing the front of Line 5 Schuler Press and The South End Conveyor. Launches take a strong, committed, and focused team, in order to be successful. The following CSP women who currently serve on the 2020 Launch are excellent examples of leadership in action.

Maria Gill, Production Team Member

Just listen to what I’m saying!” is a phrase I’m known for,” chuckles Maria Gill. She is a Production Team Member who has worked for Ford Motor Company for 22 years. Her role for launch includes providing visual aids.  She is responsible for setting up error proofing, control point boards, JSAs, and packaging specs for each work station. “This launch is crucial to our future, we need to make sure we replenish,” Gill shared.  When asked who she looked up to Gill commented, “Raven Wynn is always so positive, she has helped me tremendously, and Liz Turek because she stands her ground for what she believes in.” Maria loves crafts.

Kelly Anderson, Tool and Die Leader

“When you think you’ve given your all, give a little more,” are words Kelly Anderson live by. Anderson started working for Ford Motor Company at Chicago Stamping Plant 27 years ago.  As Tool and Die Leader, she is the first female in the plant to hold the position as Leader in skilled trades. “I’ve got a really good team out there, and wouldn’t trade them for anything,” Anderson shared.  In her role, she and her team follow all new model die sets and the jobs from bay to bay. “My Dad, Richard Hopper is my role model.  He worked here for 30 years, and every boss wanted him to work for them because he was such a hard worker. I wanted to strive to be just like him. My husband, Clint, he is such a spirit.  I look up to him.   In addition, Linda Castillo, led the way and showed me that the same goal was achievable.”                         

Kristy Dixon, Quality Process Coach

“I never lose.  I either win or learn,” is the motto that Kristy Dixon, Quality Process Coach, goes by.  Kristy is responsible for coordinating layout activities and ensuring parts are prepared to be PSW’d when the new model parts are launched. She and her team work closely with the ME Team to make sure parts are meeting, and even exceeding customer requirements. “ In my years working at Chicago Stamping Plant, this is the first time that I’ve had a front row seat to the launch process, “ Dixon shared, “this is an exciting time for me because normally production process coaches don’t get exposed to the launch process or to the new parts until they are almost released or actually released to production.” Kristy has been at Chicago Stamping Plant for 15 years.

Sarah Anderson, Engineering Specialist/Dimensional Control

Sarah Anderson, Engineering Specialist Dimensional/Engineering Change Coordinator for Chicago Stamping Plant, has been with Ford Motor Company for almost 10 years, as the Engineering Specialist Dimensional/Engineering Change Coordinator for Chicago Stamping Plant, her role includes coordinating all launch requirements which includes engineering changes, managing launch runs, inventory control, ensuring on time delivery to the customer, as well as the coordination of PSW efforts.  “Every day is something different, I constantly have to re-plan my day, whether it’s troubleshooting new parts, or working with people inside, or outside of the plant,” Sarah explains.  People may not know that she is Swedish and Czech. “I’ve had the opportunity to travel to both countries.  Sweden for work and Czech for fun.”

Aileen Robles, Cycle Checking Process Coach

Aileen Robles, who hails from the City of Detroit, has been with Ford Motor Company for twelve years, and is Chicago Stamping Plant’s Cycle Checking Process Coach. “My main goal is inventory control, obsolescence disposition, and engineering changes from the MP& L side, Robles explained.  One of the areas that presents a challenge is the many engineering changes for part numbers, KDs, purchase parts, and end items.  Aileen’s motto through it all is, “Get Er Done” “This launch is a fresh start, “explained Robles, “we’re in control and get to set up things as the team thinks it should be.”

Raven Wynn, Pressroom Team Manager

Raven Wynn, started at Ford Motor Company 15 years ago as a Ford College Graduate (FCG) after graduating from Tuskegee University with an electrical engineering degree. She is Team Manager in the Pressroom at Chicago Stamping Plant, and is responsible for planning, change overs, and producing parts for the launch. “It’s such a fast paced area that it’s imperative that our teams understand and follow the processes established, Wynn shared, “I have been a Launch Manager here, but being on the production side is giving me an opportunity to influence the product first hand, prior to going to the customer.  “Launch is not for the faint of heart, you can’t just dip your toe in…you have to jump in with both feet.”

Lisa Recinella, Pressroom Area Manager

From the land down under, Lisa Recinella has worked for Ford Motor Company for almost 25 years, and started her career at Geelong Stamping in Australia. She has held positions in MP&L, Industrial Engineering, FPS, Quality, Production, and is Pressroom Area Manager at Chicago Stamping Plant. “The ability to develop people, and watch them succeed is rewarding.”  Lisa’s teams are responsible for producing parts for the launch and delivering them to the assembly area, and assembly plant on time. “The key to a successful launch is the attention to details and a team approach,” Recinella shared.

There is one thing each of these women have in common, that truly stands out.  They each have a significant role in launch, while running current model production.  Usually, there is a separate “launch” position that handles new model.  Anderson commented, “Coordinating both current production and Launch at the same time can be a challenge.  Although I handle them both, there is a constant battle of getting help from teams when they are focused on current model, but we have to get launch parts out.”  Each of these women, who are committed to producing a flawless launch, while exceeding customer expectations with current model production bring a new meaning to “Built Ford Tough.”


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