Meet the Woman in Charge of Building the Best-Selling Pickup Truck in America

Responsible for overseeing a Ford F-150 plant that she calls “a little city,” Debbie Manzano holds the rare status of being a woman at the helm of a major American production facility.

Comments: 59

  1. Thank you and all women who quietly and dilligently pursue evolutionary change among all the bluster and puffery from men fearful of revolutionary change.

  2. I am glad for this woman because her appointment promotes equality. I just hope her compensation is equal to what any man with the same experience, education, and ability as her would be paid.

  3. @Robert Streeter Congress has refused to pass a law where large companies are required to release info about relative pay of men and women in similar positions. If this info was easily available, women would know when they were underpaid. Gotta vote for representatives that want corporate gender pay transparency.

  4. She's safer around auto workers than she would be if she were on the Supreme Court.

  5. Cheap shots like this will never help us get beyond one side (gender, race, whatever) sniping/griping against the other.

  6. You haven't been attention the Chicago assembly plant

  7. This is so good to hear. Now...bring back a smaller, more efficient truck, for all of us fans of your wonderful Ranger truck. Just had to kiss mine goodbye and I'm devastated. I don't want a huge truck. I would buy a smaller one today. Please.

  8. If only American men could kick their insane addiction to these things. The amount of trucks cruising our cities shows the depths of American foolishness and apathy towards the planet.

  9. I actually need one

  10. @Hmmm Just try to stay in your bike lane, please.

  11. @Hmmm You put big things in them. And you take those things somewhere. You dont have to buy one. And btw, they are not Hummers or fancy pants sports cars that guzzle. A woman rises to the top of her game and you effite snobs pick on her trucks! Geez Mareez.

  12. Considering what's going on in Washington DC - thank you for an inspiring article. Wish this young lady the best and heck, there might just be the whole of Ford in her grasp one day.

  13. Econ 101 Q: Why are pick up trucks the only vehicles made exclusively in the US ? A: Because , unlike passenger cars, since 1964 foreign made pickup have a 25% import tariff Tariffs DO protect domestic industry. It is pick up that keep the US automotive industry alive

  14. The unfortunate distortion caused is more burnt carbon

  15. @Woof. Yes, and because of tariffs, we can't buy a small pickup in this country and the automakers have no incentive to produce one in this county; only big, expensive, gas guzzlers.

  16. @EGFlaig small pickups indeed are available here.

  17. Great story about a field that needs more women; however, I would never say that teaching is an "easy" career.

  18. An impressive and accomplished woman, someone Orin Hatch would describe as "attractive".

  19. Good for her, but as an aside, these oversize vehicles are a rolling assault against the planet, against pedestrian safety and against common sense. 95% of them that I see rolling through town are carrying exactly nothing in the bed. Towing nothing. They're toxic masculinity in vehicular form.

  20. @Chris Tucker I agree, but maybe with more Manzanos, the culture for assaulting the planet will allow fewer toxic masculinity vehicles.

  21. Women hold up half the world.

  22. Good presentation by the NY Times -- as Debbie Manzano said, "we're moving in the right direction".

  23. This is an oasis of healthy, progressive news in a tsunami of regressive, hostile political combat. Very inspiring.

  24. Looks like a highly qualified manager to me -

  25. Broad shoulders... this is a very big job!

  26. The timing of this article is excellent. It made me feel a lot better about a lot of things. The feeling, in fact, reminds me of how I felt two years ago when Hurricane Matthew finally started moving away from here. I knew there would be a mess to clean up, but at least I could get to work and do something constructive.

  27. What a classic success story. Time, effort and perseverance. Good for her!

  28. Great story but the F-150 and its ilk need to die so humanity can live.

  29. @D. Please name another way to move stuff around. Some of us live in rural areas and do rural things, which requires hauling stuff.

  30. @J. Harmon Smith I built a house with a Honda Civic and a 4x8 tilting trailer. 45 mpg. Deliveries for multi ton loads. If climate change is an emergency, big things will just stay where they lay unless it’s a critical part of something essential like food production. All hobbies that require hauling gas powered toys will die.

  31. That’s great but these vehicles are ruining the environment.

  32. In these dark and tumultuous days I am so gratified to read about women in industry as well as technology. I just bought a Jeep, but Ford thank you for supporting equality in the workplace! Should have purchased the F150 out of solidarity!

  33. If a male had been profiled the posters and the NYT would have excoriated him as a macho symbol of American overindulgence in an unnecessary high carbon footprint status symbols and accused of probably being a Trump supporter to boot trying to hold on, with bloody fingernails to the last vestiges of the Post War industrial boom. He would be held personally responsible for untold damages to the fragile earth. Instead it's you go girl.

  34. The F150 is a great truck. Sometimes one needs a truck to get a job done. Like me tomorrow.

  35. @Jp And what if you need a pickup truck to do your job?

  36. Have you watched the latest Supreme Court nominee? Entitled and macho, extremely dismissive of women.

  37. Great! I will use this to convince my wife to buy an F-150!

  38. Good for you Ms. Manzano! Talent and brains and an appetite for hard work and long hours is a recipe for success in any enviroment. And any qualified woman should get the same consideration when competing for high ranking positions. Hope Ms. Manzano makes it all the way to the top at Ford Motor Company.

  39. Felt very nice to read the article. In the manufacturing sector the percentage of women workers is less. Women heading them is a rarity. Congratulations Ms. Manzano for your success. However I feel the top management salary should be reduced by 40 % at least. The benefits of the same should be passed on to the much deserving Engineers and other staff.

  40. It strikes me as odd that I this factory and in another piece I read on the trucking industry’s shortage of drivers that the simple answer to fill the need for more workers is to pay more. It seems that both articles talked about companies’ strategies to attract more workers overlooking - I’m sure deliberately - the obvious answer: Pay more.

  41. @Mark Marks’s ... Good point. I also think that on-site day care/child care (even a preschool!) would attract many women to the industry, and keep them working long-term. A major draw for women anticipating starting a family, or those already with children.

  42. This is wonderful to read. The River Rouge plant is a manufacturing marvel- it really is on the scale of a small city, and you can tour a part of it from overhead. I'm a MI native daughter and a female business owner in the NE, and I'm excited for both Ms. Manzano and Ford. Her background, skill set, and experience rose to the top, and I congratulate her.

  43. Well, shucks, I may just have to buy an American pickup this time around. First one I've owned since my 1957 Chevy Apache decades ago. You go, girl!

  44. wow - well, she's got the cred. If Ford fails to take advantage, that's their loss.

  45. In a world dominated by Trump and the sleazy men around him, is so refreshing to read about empowered, capable, smart women.

  46. Reading about the difficulty women still have getting jobs a in traditional men's field, I feel as though I have gone in the way-back machine to the 1950s and 60s. This, of course, tying in to other news. But what I want to understand is where are the mothers and sisters (and wives) of the men who give women such a hard time in the work place? Don't mothers teach their sons that women are their equals and that isn't a bad thing? You might have an easier, less stress-filled life if you don't try to prove you are a "man" by being a jerk. Having a female boss or co-worker doesn't make you "soft." I guess very little has changed in many communities in the past 50 years even among the women. Sad.

  47. Great. Women can destroy the environment too. This makes me so happy. I’d rather meet the woman who cycles to work instead. She’s my kind of hero.

  48. I love it!!!

  49. The reporter should have found out what she is paid; if that proved impossible, find out the range of pay for the position. Then we'd soon find out if she is receiving equal pay with men.

  50. To wit : headline, a female boss —storyline, its a male world . Me too NYTimes, what’s your line?

  51. At the Big Ten university where I teach mechanical engineering, about 20% of our undergraduate students are women. While we try hard to recruit more women, the truth is that smart young women have a lot of opportunities open to them, and manufacturing certainly does not appeal to many of them - or to many of our male students, either. While there's no doubt a lot of room for improvement, I do think that at least in engineering-related fields, American industry today is a meritocracy. For folks who have the background and the drive to succeed, the doors are open.

  52. My fantasy - Ms. Manzano runs the whole show ( she has the wherewithal to do it) and has a building consisting solely of women and lots of little girls running about in a culture supporting child care on the site. What a nice story about a pretty special lady.

  53. I grew up in Detroit, was a UAW member and worked assembly (one of the few “girls” in the 70s doing heavy, physical work). I left to go to college, and became a white collar professional. I am now grinning from ear to ear. We gals are building trucks, running the Plant, and rocking Rouge! You go get it, Debbie Manzano, Brittany and Armenthia. And, of course—Go Blue!

  54. During my career as a merchant mariner captain, I had the privilege of mentoring a woman officer as she rose through the ranks. I've been retired for 9 years and have only a handful of things I recall with satisfaction and pride. The first among those things is that she is now herself a captain, has been for some time, and is doing remarkable work.

  55. I'm a man with 6 sisters. I'm secure in my masculinity, sexual orientation and whether or not oatmeal is better then a three egg omelet (omelt). The whole premise of this 'is she qualified' is based on fear and control. I love my sisters. My wife too. The fears are baseless and the attempts at control are really a sign of weakness. Be strong. Women are awesome. Relax. Get over yourself.

  56. What did not get mentioned is how important the F-150s produced there are to the profitability of Ford. The margins are large and they are an outsized chunk of Ford’s profitability. Putting her in charge of such an important plant is a huge vote of confidence. They would not put anyone in that position that they did not have the ultimate confidence in. Looks like she earned it- that is the way it should be. Congrats. The University of Michigan- her alma matter- uses the slogan the leaders and the best. Indeed. Go Blue.

  57. "Ms. Manzano doles out hugs to longtime co-workers" I wonder how that would work for a manager who identified as male...

  58. I'll bet her dad's proud. From: the dad of an intelligent and spunky woman.

  59. Bring back the option of a manual transmission.