Meet Jennifer Naczynski, a Managing Engineer based out of our Canadian Technical Centre Oshawa Campus.
1) How long have you been at GM and what is your current role?
I started working at GM in 2002, so I have just over 17 years with the company.
Currently, I have two sides to my role. I am the Innovation Designate for the Chassis - Vehicle Dynamic Performance Management Innovation Domain. In this position, I help manage the global portfolio of Advanced Technology Work (ATW) projects for that Domain. I am also the Managing Engineer for the Body ATW team, supervising a small team of engineers at CTC Oshawa as they execute Body-related ATW Projects.
2) What brought you to GM?
Directly after graduating university, I started with GM as a Designing Engineer (DE). This role no longer exists but can be described as a Design Release Engineer that completed their own Computer Aided Design work. I found it exciting that I would be designing and releasing actual automotive components into the assembly plant and ultimately seeing those parts drive down the road in a vehicle.
3) What is the best part about your job?
The best part of my job is helping to shape the portfolio of innovative technologies at GM and then watching them develop into solutions. It is always fulfilling to see technology that I am involved with get inserted into a vehicle. I enjoy helping foster the innovation process and leading a team of engineers in the development and execution of designs.
4) How has GM helped you grow?
GM offers a wide range of experiences and opportunities to grow professionally. I took advantage of the amazing benefits of the Technical Education program to earn my master’s degree which allowed me to gain technical knowledge relevant to my job.
I also have had the opportunity to be part of the Women’s Council within GM Canada to help drive beneficial initiatives to the entire population. I have been given opportunities over the course of my career to lead local initiatives outside of my daily work as stretch assignments that built my leadership skills and grew my network.
5) What is the coolest thing that you’ve accomplished since being at GM?
It is hard to pick just one thing, so I’ll name three! I was the DE for the upper tie bar in the 2010 Chevy Equinox. This is part of the vehicles’ underbody structure and what the hood, headlamps and fascia are attached to. It is really cool that those parts are on over one million Equinoxes that were built and sold. The fact that those stampings are providing security to over a million drivers is very exciting.
I was also part of a team that worked to design the “Flow Tie”. This was used on certain Camaros to increase engine air flow through the Chevy bowtie on the front of the vehicle. It was a great example of developing innovations in your everyday job, under tight timelines and with plenty of logistic hurdles.
Finally, I helped organize two Innovation Symposiums to recognize and celebrate innovation within all areas of GM Canada and to inspire attendees to innovate in their daily jobs. Both events were very satisfying accomplishments. I believe they were a possible spark for someone’s amazing new idea and helped inspire individuals to look at their daily jobs differently.
6) What’s your favourite GM vehicle?
I guess I would have to say the Equinox. In addition to my pride in the contributions from my team, it is a practical choice for my life. My current and previous cars have both been Equinoxes. They are the ideal size for moving the family back and forth to school and sports practices with enough space to carry my son’s hockey equipment. I realize it isn’t glamorous or fast, but I guess I am a practical person.
7) If you could drive to one place where would it be?
I would drive along the east coast of Canada. I have visited there twice before but have never been able to go on a tour along the coast. I would love to drive the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, revisit Prince Edward Island and, one day, see Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland.
8) What do you do on your free time?
I enjoy reading and, like everyone, always wish I had more free time to dive into more books. I also enjoy hiking with my family. We love to get outside and experience the amazing views and lesser-known spots that surround the GTA.
9) What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I grew up in a rural area of south eastern Ontario. It is so small that there were more people living in my university dorm than there were in my hometown!
10) If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Given how busy life is, I would use the extra time to spend with my kids. They grow up so fast, so I would spend the time making memories with them.
11) What movie title best describes your life?
I would pick the movie “One Fine Day”. The hectic pace of balancing family and work commitments reflects our family’s busy life. We coordinate pickups and drop offs with early meetings and squeeze in sports practices and games. It is a choreographed dance on some days. However, at the end of the day, we all come home to realize that it was a great day.