Angela Harris is a research engineer at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan. She works to develop environmentally conscious plastic materials for future vehicles, utilizing resources such as renewable and recycled materials. In researching sustainable materials for vehicles, Angela and her team look for ways to reduce Ford's environmental footprint.

"A lot of people don't realize that plastic materials are typically derived from petroleum," says Angela. "What we're doing is looking at alternative sources to make those plastic parts. So, whether it's soy bean oil or sugars from different plants, those can all be used as starting feed stocks to make green materials."

The automaker doesn't just make and assemble material - it's constantly working on innovative parts and processes to improve the development of each vehicle.

"Ford is very committed to doing the research and development ourselves," says Angela. "We want to have that technical expertise and that depth. We have labs and do all of that testing."

Much of Angela's work at Ford has an impact on local economies across the country.

"A large part of what I do here at Ford is networking and trying to work with suppliers that are working on green material technologies, as well as universities," she says. "We even have relationships with farming industry and farmers to look at what crops are they using and how can we find new uses for their crops."

In fact, maintaining a domestic source for materials is important to Angela and her work at Ford.

"I feel really privileged that in my job I can bring these different groups together and maybe introduce a smaller supplier to a tier-one supplier and help pull that technology into our Ford vehicles," says Angela.