Lisa Drake
Ms Lisa Drake
Chief Engineer, Ford Motor Company
Royal Oak, MI

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Close Up
  • What I Do
    I am the chief engineer for Ford's Global Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicles. I am responsible for the development and launch of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicle applications worldwide.
  • Why Engineering?
    I started as a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University as a biology major -- thinking that I was going to med school. Very quickly, I realized that I enjoyed the physics and math classes much more than some of the pure science courses. Also, I has several sophomore friends who were mechanical engineering majors and was really interested in the courses they were taking. So, in my sophomore year, I switched. I have loved engineering ever since!
  • School Days
    I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, with majors in both biomedical engineering and engineering & public policy. I also hold a master’s degree in business administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
  • My Day At Work
    I am fortunate that I get to lead and participate in a variety of things in my daily work -- I have to manage product programs to financial targets in the millions-of-dollars range. I get to design and develop what the vehicles look like and how they drive and perform. I get to participate in work with marketing on how to advertise and bring the products to market, and this is all accomplished through leadership of a fantastic team that I enjoy working with every day.
  • Best Part
    Solving problems!! I love to solve problems and create things (I consistently have 5-6 projects at home going on, as I love putting hard work and thought into things and to challenge myself to see what I can do.) Being "trained" as an engineer in college allows you to quickly look at a problem, deconstruct it into logical steps, and then tackle it and move forward with a solution. You can apply this to almost anything that you do -- not just engineering cars.
  • Proud Moments
    Probably the acceptance into the Automotive Hall of Fame, and more importantly, the nomination by Derrick Kuzak (Vice President of Product Development at Ford.) He is one of the most respected engineers in the automotive industry, and to be nominated by him was truly an honor.
  • Challenges
    Not many, really. If you want to do something or try something, just do it. You will be surprised how much you can personally accomplish or change if you just decide that you want to do it. I will say that growing up, I had no interest in cars. My dad and other men in my family always worked on their cars and talked about them, but I had no interest. Once I started at Ford, though -- I grew to love them!! I'm still not a gear-head or grease-monkey (love my Starbucks lattes and Manolo Blahniks...), but I love to talk to people about their cars, what they like/don't like, etc. You can still "be a girl" and do very well in the automotive industry.
  • My Family
    I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and most of my family is still there. I am engaged to be married this year, and need to plan a wedding!
  • Dreams and Goals
    I can't wait to deliver some of our new electrified vehicle products into the market -- the Ford Focus Electric vehicle, and several other new products. In 10 years, I hope I am still loving my job as much as I do now!
  • Inspiration
    I would have to start with my parents -- they always let me dream as big as I could and choose to shoot for the moon. They also supported me by allowing me any choice for college and worked so hard to manage tuition at Carnegie Mellon. From there, I have a few key mentors at Ford that have also shaped my professional, as well as personal decisions.
  • Want to be an Engineer?
    Go for it! And don't think about the "challenges" -- just follow your passion.
  • Additional Thoughts
    Lisa is working on developing Ford's first electric and hybrid vehicles!
  • Hobbies
    I love to play soccer, tennis, and sports in general. I'm a huge fan of shoes! I do a lot of significant home renovations (took my kitchen down to the studs and remodeled the entire thing mostly myself and with the help of friends/family.)
Biography
I am the chief engineer for Ford's Global Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicles. I am responsible for the development and launch of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicle applications worldwide.
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