One of her father’s early rotations involved working with Ford racing. He took Laurie and her siblings to races at Michigan International Speedway, where they would get to go into the pits to meet the drivers.
Transou’s personal connection to Mustang also runs deep. At 16, she learned how to drive a manual transmission Mustang GT and later purchased her own 1991 Mustang GT as her first vehicle after college. She quickly came to appreciate the car’s performance and unique exhaust note. Transou also still remembers taking a test-drive.
“The 5.0-liter exhaust was so perfect, and I was just smiling from ear to ear,” she said. “It’s so distinctive and so uniquely Mustang. I can have my eyes closed, and I can just tell it’s a Mustang.”
Explorer internship seals the deal
Transou held several internships at Ford and worked as a Ford College Graduate, a program which provides a variety of rotational job assignments for recent college graduates during their first years with the company, after earning undergraduate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. But it was one particular internship that tipped the scales in her job search.
Transou was invited to support a pre-production build at the Louisville, Kentucky, plant prior to the launch of the then-all-new Ford Explorer. She still remembers the product code of that fateful project: UN46. The SUV was replacing the Bronco II and would go on to become an iconic SUV. At 20 years old, she remembers being nervous and excited as she told her parents about her first business trip to join the team for a prototype build for a program that was still two years from launch.
“I realized the impact of what we were doing in that moment,” she said. “We had the opportunity to think deeply about our customers and how we might deliver a product that they can’t live without.”
She knew this was what she wanted to do.
“It was so exciting,” she said. “That was the tipping point for me. That’s when I knew I wanted to be in the auto industry, and I love Ford. I’ve bled Ford Blue since the time I was born.”
Transou went on to work in Truck Operations Product Development, holding various roles in engineering, vehicle integration, planning and strategy on products, including the first-generation Ford Expedition, F-250 and Ranger.
Coming back to Ford
While Transou has been with Ford for more than 30 years, she stepped away from her career for about eight years to raise her family. She returned to Ford in 2007.
“Once (my children) went off to school, I came back to work,” she said. “It was great. We’re lucky at Ford to have the opportunity to take time off to prioritize family and then come back and still develop and grow a career. It’s unique to Ford, and it’s one of the things Ford does really well.”
Upon her return, Transou worked in Powertrain and Vehicle Quality, where she helped launch the first Auto Start-Stop Technology in the Ford Fusion. More recently she has taken on several roles in planning and strategy, including powertrain strategy for internal combustion and EV products, Lincoln internal combustion and EV planning, and future strategy and planning for iconic products such as Mustang and Bronco.
Transou was named Ford Mustang chief program engineer in January and is now responsible for leading all aspects of the all-new seventh-generation 2024 Ford Mustang and future Mustang products. Her recent roles in planning and strategy are helping her to bring a vision for growing the Mustang brand.