The Power Women of the Wire Harness Industry -Veronica Felix Elguezabal
by Melissa Femia
This edition of The Power Women series features a young lady who I previously had the pleasure of employing at Jana Diversity Solutions, Veronica Felix Elguezabal. She is currently in the role of Quality & Environmental Systems Coordinator at St. Clair Technologies. Not only is she a qualified female engineer, but she also has a long-term interest in supporting and celebrating successful females in technology and manufacturing.
Veronica grew up in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. At the tender age of 5 years, her parents divorced and her mother had to work to support both Veronica and her sister. Because her grandfather watched her when she was not in school, he had a lot of influence in her life. While he was not an engineer, he worked at the electrical station in Mexico. He often spoke about his job and the subject of electricity. She was also fortunate to have had exposure to an uncle who was the first engineer in their family, a civil engineer. From a young age, he encouraged her to pursue a degree in engineering. On the other hand, her schoolteachers questioned her about a career path in teaching or law or other more traditional female jobs. While she performed well in school, the familial discussions led her to her engineering path more so than her scholastic conversations with teachers or counselors. She knew she wanted to pursue engineering, and eventually opted toward a degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering at the Instituto Tecnologico de Guaymas in Sonora, Mexico (ITSON). Veronica ultimately became the first female engineer in her family.
Veronica noted that her engineering major (Industrial & Systems Engineering) was evenly represented by males and females. She advised that some of the other majors such as mechanical and electrical engineering were heavily male-dominated from the attendance perspective. Throughout her collegiate experience, she did not have any concerns or challenges due to being female.
Upon completion, she was hired as a student at St. Clair Technologies as a process technician. After completion of her assignment, she then attained a position at Access Electronics where she worked as a calibration technician. At that point, she moved because she was interested in attaining more knowledge in a different industry. In 2009, she opted to relocate to Tijuana for personal reasons. There, she worked as a Jr. Process Engineer at NPA of Mexico. After leaving the work environment for a couple of years to have and raise her son, Veronica then returned to Guaymas and St. Clair Technologies in 2011 where she worked as a Board Tooling Technician. After a short-term period, she was promoted to the position of Quality Engineer. In the quality engineering position, she was integral in working with customers to assure excellent customer satisfaction. She learned about and prepared customer PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) documents. She was also responsible to ensure compliance to ISO 16949 / TS 16949, AS 9100, and ISO 14001 and became well acquainted with AIAG (Automotive Industry Action Group) Core Tools. In addition, she worked with internal teams to provide root-cause analyses for any quality issues cited by customers. As the scope of the Quality Engineer position is wide, she became an expert at quality systems throughout the duration of her 6 years in the role.
In 2018, Veronica was asked to move to Jana Diversity Solutions for a temporary assignment and took the role of Quality & Environmental Supervisor. She went from working at a very established business of 75+ years to a new, start-up company. She utilized her vast knowledge of quality systems to lead Jana Diversity Solutions in the creation of new processes and procedures. She was the corporate Management Representative, and helped Jana Diversity Solutions become IATF 16949-certified. Most notably, her quality focus and support of plant floor operations helped to ensure that Jana Diversity shipped high-quality parts—a necessity for a small, growing company.
Again in 2019 and per plan, Veronica returned to work at St. Clair Technologies. She was promoted to the position of Quality & Environmental Management System Coordinator. In her new role, she is responsible for roughly the same scope of responsibilities as her Jana Diversity role, but for a much larger company.
During evenings and in addition to her primary job assignment, Veronica has also been an auxiliary instructor at ITSON. In this role, she teaches university students about guideline norms such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, IATF 16949, ISO 22000, and ISO 45001. She prepares and delivers the lessons. Additionally, she participates on departmental committees and advises on curriculum improvement opportunities. She is also taking on the special project of creating a women’s professional conference for communication and networking purposes. This conference will highlight important functions performed by females and will allow students to gain professional mentors to ultimately further their motivation and advancement in industry or academia.
Thank you, Veronica, for sharing your story with Wiring Harness News. Also, I would like to extend a shoutout to St. Clair Technologies for promoting a strong, experienced female in to one of the highest-ranking positions in the company. Through Veronica’s hard work ethic and subject expertise and St. Clair’s acknowledgement of her contributions, other females can see their own potential for upward mobility.