She Can Do It: Debbie Manzano Runs Ford F-150 Production

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Debbie Manzano

N.Y. Times profiles woman behind Ford F-150, who is shattering expectations and the glass ceiling.

The New York Times recently did an article about Debbie Manzano, plant manager of Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan, facility. In her role at Ford, Manzano is responsible for production of the Ford F-150. Certainly no small feat. But as we learned in the article, no one seems to be better prepared for the challenge.

Manzano has been working for Ford for 24 years, working her way up from glass production to F-150 boss. Part of her job is overseeing production at the Dearborn plant, a sprawling facility that is over 2.6 million square feet, and houses some 4,300 employees. And she loves it. Her father worked for Ford for many years, and she always wanted to follow in his footsteps.

Ford truck manufacturing Dearborn

Hers was not an easy journey. Women are in the minority in manufacturing jobs, making up less than 30 percent of the workforce in her field. But Manzano was not deterred, and her love of Ford trucks and automotive manufacturing kept her going. And she credits her male colleagues for their encouragement along the way.

Her day is mostly spent on the floor, dealing with all aspects of production. The Dearborn plant is one of the most prolific facilities in the world, turning out a Ford F-150 every 53 seconds.

Her goal is to see more women in automotive manufacturing. “That’s why we need women, to bridge the gap,” Manzano says. And having a woman in charge is empowering to the many ranks of Ford truck driving (and loving) women, as well.

F150 Dearborn

With more females joining the ranks of automotive production and other affiliated trades, the future is looking good.

Says Manzano, “We’re moving in the right direction.”

Photos: The New York Times, Ford Motor Company

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S.J. Bryan is an editor with Ford Truck Enthusiasts and regular contributor to F-150 Online and Harley-Davidson Forums, among other auto sites.

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