Zach Ostrander

Zach likes to say that he is a complete product of Faurecia. He interned with the company and did his college thesis on an in-depth analysis on an armrest for a GM model. His first position was working in a plant, which led to becoming a Process Engineer and then a Production Manager at a young age.

 

I started at the bottom and have been given many opportunities, holding several positions in 11 years. Today, I’m based in Meru, France, where I’m the program manager for both the instrument panel and the door panels for the first U.S. production future model. I lead the business group’s program team, which works closely with the customer and the production sites to fine-tune the project, hone the design, and put in place the organization and tools needed.  

 

As a development program manager, I began 2 years prior to the start of production and will continue in this role until I hand over to the production team. I work with colleagues here in Meru, our customer’s teams, and my core team, which is spread across North America. I see my main responsibility as keeping the path clear for my project team so that they can get things done.

 

When our tools are transfered at the end of my current assignment, I’ll take the expertise we’ve developed back to the U.S. and launch the program with my team. When the  first car rolls off the assembly line, it will have our doors and instrument panel. These are the first things you see when you open a car and sit inside so it’s a big responsibility and it’s exciting to be a part of it.

 

Communications is the main quality of a Program Manager and making sure I stay connected with my team. In the fast-moving world of an automotive supplier, you need to think four steps ahead, to anticipate what the customer might think or say or react to. Being well-organized is key to communicating constantly with teams in different time zones and problem solving skills also are important. Most of all it's about having a lot of energy and making it fun!”