FCA US Manufacturing Engineer Earns 2016 Black Engineer of the Year Special Recognition Award

Feb 26, 2016, 11:00 ET from FCA US LLC

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Special Recognition Award "recognizes high merit, broad impact on people and value to society as a whole" 
  • Award continues a long tradition of excellence achieved by diverse FCA US engineering leaders

U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine awarded its 2016 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Special Recognition Award to Kristal Fears, Global Manufacturing Product Responsible, C-SUV Product, FCA US LLC.

Fears was honored at a special recognition breakfast hosted during the 30th BEYA STEM Conference and Career Fair held February 18-20 in Philadelphia. The award honors outstanding leaders in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and provides opportunities for professional development, networking and recruiting.

Fears joins a long list of FCA US technical and engineering leaders whose contributions have been recognized over the years at the BEYA conference and related programs.

"Kristal is a talented engineer with a dynamic leadership style that inspires the people around her and achieves results," said Brian Harlow Vice President - Manufacturing, FCA - North America. "Among her accomplishments, she successfully led the implementation of a Transmission Flash System at our Jefferson North Assembly Plant that achieved significant reductions in cost and part complexity. This innovative project, a first within FCA, is now being implemented across multiple vehicle lines and assembly plants on a global level." 

Fears was appointed Global Manufacturing Product Responsible for the C-SUV product in 2014. This program is industrialized in North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific regions. In this role, she works cross-functionally with engineers to manage tooling, facilities and equipment budgets and to identify and resolve manufacturing constraints.

Prior to this role, Fears, as a Manufacturing Product Responsible, coordinated the manufacturing scope, timing and cost for the new model Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango programs from program approval through model launch.

In the community, Fears is a member of two employee resource groups at FCA US, the Women's Forum and African American Employee Network. These groups work to support the career development of members and provide education programs within the Company that enhance cultural awareness and understanding.

Fears has been a volunteer and supporter of the March of Dimes and has supported efforts that enhance education and career development of adolescent girls. She offers that her own career path was inspired by an elementary school teacher in Detroit who recognized her skills in math and encouraged her to pursue a career in engineering.

"I owe much of who I am and what I've accomplished to the strong people who saw my potential and inspired the choices I've made in my life and career," Fears said.  "I know that it is both my responsibility and privilege to lead people, serve the community and inspire the next generation."

She continues: "I am very appreciative of this recognition of my career accomplishments and look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."

FCA US has a longstanding commitment to recruiting diverse talent and supporting education initiatives for minorities in STEM. For the past three years, FCA US has been named a top supporter of engineering programs at the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), according to U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine. The Company also sponsored Great Minds in STEM™, an organization that provides scholarships to Hispanic students majoring in a STEM field. In addition, FCA US also supports various organizations that advance women's involvement in STEM professions, including Michigan Council of Women in Technology and Society of Women Engineers.

In 2014, the Company partnered with Florida International University (FIU) to sponsor a STEM education initiative called "Engineers on Wheels." Staffed by FIU students and overseen by FIU faculty, "Engineers on Wheels" brings engineering education into South Florida's public schools, giving students the opportunity to become familiar with the high-tech, hands-on education they need to prepare for future success in STEM subjects and careers.

About U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine
U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology provides black technology news and information about black engineering, black technology, black entrepreneurs, black engineers, black education, black minorities, Black Engineer of the Year Awards and historically black colleges and universities from black communities in U.S., UK, Caribbean and Africa.  

FCA US LLC is a North American automaker with a new name and a long history. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. FCA US designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT brands, as well as the SRT performance vehicle designation. The company also distributes the Alfa Romeo 4C model and Mopar products. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler, the innovative American automaker first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925; and Fiat, founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli.

FCA, the seventh-largest automaker in the world based on total annual vehicle sales, is an international automotive group. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FCAU" and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol "FCA."

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