Kettering provided ‘foundational knowledge’ for graduate’s auto industry career

Kettering provided ‘foundational knowledge’ for graduate’s auto industry career

May 14, 2014

“Kettering was a real turning point in my life,” Dedo said. “It was a huge opportunity to learn about something you love while translating it to something you can provide for your life. I think the Kettering education is one of the best because of the co-op opportunity, which provides a real learning experience from the ground up.”

Jacqueline Dedo '84

Related:

Published in the Spring 2014 issue of Kettering Magazine

Ever since elementary school, Jacqueline Dedo ‘84 wanted to combine her passion for technology and helping people to work in the auto industry, a goal she pursued at Kettering University and professionally for the past 25 years.

“It was a combination of my fascination with science projects and working on things that I could build with my dad,” Dedo said. “My father introduced me to different people at General Motors and used to talk to me about how General Motors is one of the most innovative manufacturing companies in the world and the impact that they have on society.”

In January 2013, Dedo brought more than 25 years of automotive leadership to her new role as the president of the Piston Group. Most recently, she served as chief strategy officer of Dana Holding Corporation, where she led the development and delivery of its global business plans across the organization’s four business units, including portfolio and process development and key joint ventures and acquisitions. Before that, Dedo was president of The Timken Company’s $1.5 billion Global Automotive Group. Prior to that, she served in leadership roles at Motorola, from 2001 to 2004; Covisint LLC, from 2000 to 2001; Robert Bosch Corporation, from 1987 to 2000; and Cadillac Motor Car Company, from 1983 to 1986.

“The auto industry is an amazing industry that is misunderstood,” Dedo said. “When you look at that level of technological sophistication in product and process and the level of GDP that it creates for our nation, it’s a very exciting place to be for any discipline of study.”

Founded in 1995, the Piston Group is a growing supplier of electrification systems, complex module assemblies and build to sequence components for the automotive industry. Originally established in Detroit, the Piston Group today operates five manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky.

The Piston Group is in the midst of an expansion and Dedo’s responsibility as president is to strategize and guide that expansion in the appropriate direction to ensure continual and sustainable growth for the company.

“What sold me is the opportunity to bring together all my different experiences and join this company as we go to the next level of growth and expansion, with the “We’ve Got Your Back” teamwork on which Piston has been built,” Dedo said.

Dedo began her career at Cadillac Motor Car Company where she completed her co-op while at Kettering and worked full-time after graduating with an electrical engineering degree in 1984. For the past 12 years, Dedo has returned to Kettering as a member of the board of trustees to “give back” to the school that provided her the foundational knowledge and experience to succeed in the automotive industry.

“Kettering was a real turning point in my life,” Dedo said. “It was a huge opportunity to learn about something you love while translating it to something you can provide for your life. I think the Kettering education is one of the best because of the co-op opportunity, which provides a real learning experience from the ground up.”

Dedo still vividly remembers the overwhelming experience of working in the manufacturing plant. The seamless transition between the office and shop floor fueled her enthusiasm and brought her immense joy.

“I don’t know if people understand how amazing it is to walk from an engineering office into a factory and to see the theoretical being applied to make a difference in people’s lives and in communities,” Dedo said.

Dedo is one of many Kettering female graduates assuming executive leadership roles in  corporations, a trend she expects will continue as the diversity in STEM fields increases and FIRST robotics competitions continue to cement themselves in elementary, middle and high schools. Dedo is particularly impressed by the steps that Kettering has taken to attract talented students while continuing to expand the co-op program to provide the most valuable professional and education experience possible.

“Dr. Robert McMahan’s leadership at Kettering has taken our core competencies to the next level,” Dedo said. “His leadership will continue to improve the cohort experience and resulting opportunities.” 


Written By Pardeep Toor | Contact: Patrick Hayes - phayes@kettering.edu - (810) 762-9639