As one of AIAG’s recently appointed board members, Debra Poppas, vice president, global quality for PACCAR, plans to help AIAG better serve the commercial vehicle industry and work to improve overall supplier processes. More than 20 executives from the automotive and transportation OEM and supplier community currently serve on the AIAG board, representing a cross-section of its member companies.
Poppas, who spent the bulk of her career as a supplier supporting light-duty and heavy-duty OEMs, has been active in AIAG for years, relying on the organization’s training, books, guidelines, and standards. “AIAG has been rock solid the last couple of decades with where it has focused its resources, and I like where the association is going with its work in corporate responsibility and supply chain management,” Poppas says.
In her role on the board, Poppas will help AIAG serve the sector she knows best. “I’d like to see AIAG offer more training and guidelines for the commercial vehicle industry, and get some appropriate overlay and contribution of ideas from these companies,” she says.
Prior to her current role, Poppas held positions as the senior vice president of global engineering, quality, and IT at Remy International and vice president of global engineering and innovation at Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. She also served as general director of global engineering, quality, and program management at Delphi Delco Electronics.
Poppas holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Kettering University and a master of science in electrical engineering from Purdue University.
Because she has worked in most automotive functions — including plant manager, engineering, design development, validation, quality, and compliance — Poppas brings to the board a unique perspective across a variety of roles. “I’ve been a supplier, and now I’m a commercial vehicle OEM,” she says. “I understand what’s required to bring the commercial vehicle industry into the fold.”
Poppas is also interested in seeing AIAG take a deeper look at trends in ridesharing and autonomous vehicles. “We need to consider the new players who are going to be in the supply chain so that we can plan how to blend from our current state to the future state,” she notes.
Finally, Poppas plans to help AIAG build on its work with lower tier suppliers. “I’d like to drive more engagement from suppliers to help them improve their processes,” she says. “I’ve been in most of their shoes, so I get it. I will encourage the supply chain to take advantage of what AIAG has to offer. It’s really just a matter of helping people take a closer look at continuous improvement.”
Carla Kalogeridis is AIAG’s e-news editor.