Maureen Midgley is Executive Director of Global Manufacturing Engineering at General Motors, based in Detroit, Michigan. Following in the footsteps of her father - who worked at GM for 40 years - Maureen is responsible for the technologies used worldwide in the coating process, corrosion-protection and the general appearance of cars. Her work focuses on paint and polymer engineering. Maureen helped to develop and implement state-of-the-art and environmentally sound painting facilities at the General Motors plant in Orion, Michigan.

"I have a personal passion on sustainability and environmental issues," says Maureen. "I take it as a personal challenge to be able to lead my organization globally in an area that has such great impact environmentally."

The goal of the Orion Assembly plant paint shop was to find a way to use new technologies and behaviors that would reduce the company's environmental impact and lessen manufacturing costs. Using a new integrated process known as three-wet-technology, Maureen and her team at GM - along with the help of suppliers - have accomplished their goals.

"The final paint product people see on their cars and trucks is the result of relationships between the manufacturing facility and many suppliers throughout the country," says Maureen. "Whether it's materials, equipment or facilities, we work together closely to develop technologies for now and for the future, to deploy them on vehicles in the assembly plant. This results in relationships of hundred of suppliers, supporting thousands of jobs throughout the United States."

According to Maureen, lessons learned at the Orion Assembly plant will now allow for the process to be rolled out across the nation, meaning greater efficiency in vehicle production.

"Environmental sustainability is a key focus of the engineers at general motors," she says. "The technologies we develop, and the behaviors that we help to deploy out into the plant, sustain jobs, develop a great product and leave a softer footprint on the environment."