TTU alumna named ‘leading woman’ in auto industry

Kim Williams top 100
Kim Williams.

COOKEVILLE – From her first co-op at General Electric Appliances to her role today at Calsonic Kansei, Kim Williams’ hard work has taken her extraordinary places.

The 1994 Tennessee Tech University alumna is putting her industrial technology – now a manufacturing and engineering technology degree – to good use. Automotive News recently named her one of its “100 Leading Women in the North American Automotive Industry.”

“I think it goes to show what you can achieve by being passionate about what you do and enjoying your career, even if you’re not in a traditional role,” Williams, now a vice president-modules manufacturing and quality at Calsonic Kansei North America in Shelbyville, said.

The 100 Leading Women award is given every five years, based on criteria related to the nominee’s career responsibility, professional progress and scope of management and budgetary responsibilities.

This year’s notable recipients include the first female CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, and the president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Millie Marshall. Williams said it is an honor being recognized with women from these distinguished companies. She, herself, was Calsonic’s first female international VP.

Williams poses with her top "100 Leading Women" award with Calsonic Kansei team members, from left, Eric Huch, Akira Fujisaki, Kim Williams, Hiroshi Moriya and Shingo Yamamoto.
Williams poses with her top “100 Leading Women” award with Calsonic Kansei team members, from left, Eric Huch, Akira Fujisaki, Kim Williams, Hiroshi Moriya and Shingo Yamamoto.

Women are a minority in engineering, but more and more have become interested in engineering. Women are seeing the possibilities available to them in the engineering field that are not traditionally hot and heavy environments from days past. Technology has changed the world and environment of engineering.

“Even though I was one of the only women in my engineering classes at the time, I never felt like I was treated differently,” she said. “My teachers, advisors and professors at Tennessee Tech pushed me to pursue what I wanted to do in my career and that was work in manufacturing.”

Williams serves on the Department of Manufacturing and Engineering Technology advisory board at Tennessee Tech. She was also awarded TTU’s 2014 Technologist of Distinction. She is an avid supporter of the TTU Motorsports team and has worked with the manufacturing and engineering technology’s moonbuggy team. She invited the team to one of her plants in Shelbyville and helped design and provide machined parts for their project.

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