Plant 1 plant manager Honda Canada Manufacturing
When Bobbi Curran was in high school, Honda Canada Manufacturing (HCM) recruiters came looking for students interested in joining its growing operation at Alliston, Ont., a 30-minute drive south from her home in Creemore.
Curran instead continued her education, studying accounting at Toronto’s Seneca College. But after a stint in Toronto, she yearned for home and joined her classmates at HCM.
Curran, 50, has been at Honda 24 years, starting in the purchasing department and rising to division manager there before being tapped last January to manage HCM’s Plant No. 1, which produces the Civic.
She didn’t arrive unready to tackle the manufacturing side.
“We spent the majority of our time on the floor at suppliers checking on the processes and supporting them in crisis,” Curran said.
That’s helped equip her for challenges at Plant No. 1; Dealing with the parts shortage in the short term and readying the line for a transition to building electric vehicles, for which HCM is investing almost $1.4 billion into its Ontario operations.
Curran is one of two female plant managers at HCM — Susan Kenny runs Plant No. 3, which makes engines —and said she has not had a negative experience as a woman at Honda. But it can be difficult when you’re in a supplier’s boardroom, mandating changes. “Being the only woman in the room you have to have self-confidence and believe in yourself.”
IN HER OWN WORDS:
“My responsibility is to create a supportive environment. To challenge associates to take a seat at the table and have their voices heard.”