ELAINE BANNON: IT’S PERSONAL FOR CHIEF NAMEPLATE ENGINEER WHEN IT COMES TO LINCOLN MKX
Elaine Bannon, chief nameplate engineer for the 2011 Lincoln MKX, is part quarterback, part symphony conductor, and she is completely committed to delivering the best crossover in the segment.
Just as a quarterback is expected to follow a game plan, a chief nameplate engineer is tasked with following a cycle plan – the major, moderate or minor improvements a given vehicle might undertake before its next reveal.
And like a quarterback, a chief nameplate engineer will sometimes change the play to help the team win.
“Certainly you follow the product plan, but if I see that something may not meet customer expectations, then I act decisively to refine the plan,” said Bannon. “As the chief nameplate engineer, I take the wants and needs of our customer very seriously. If I see a gap between our plans and the consumer’s needs, it’s my job to make sure it’s fixed.”
A chief nameplate engineer also has to orchestrate the many different teams that contribute to the development of a given vehicle.
“Each group, whether it’s body engineering or vehicle engineering, has a separate, distinct point of view. That’s their job,” said Bannon. “My role is to take all those points of view and optimize them for the customer by balancing the equation for everyone. That’s the only way to achieve world-class, segment-leading products.”
Building on a leadership position
With its blend of luxury appointments, flexibility, functionality, appearance and fuel economy, the Lincoln MKX crossover has been a segment leader since its debut in 2006 as a 2007 model. The 2011 version is poised to extend that leadership with the addition of industry-first MyLincoln Touch™ driver connect technology heading the list of additions.
“A huge part of the attraction of crossovers is that they appeal to such a wide range of people,” said Bannon. “I think it’s vital that customers are able to bring their lifestyle – their music, their connectivity – into any vehicle, and with innovations like SYNC® and now with MyLincoln Touch we’re making it even easier for customers to do that. That’s one of the main things that set the MKX apart from the competition.”
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- Bannon writes poetry in her spare time. “It’s something I do here and there when the mood strikes me to express myself,” she says
- She makes it a point to be active physically. “I do some circuit training – a combination of weights and cardio a couple of times a week. I like to jog as well. I try to fit in at least three workouts a week. I also have a road bike,” she says
- Bannon holds two degrees from the University of Michigan – a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and an MBA
- Her uncle and brother influenced Bannon to go into the automotive field. “They were both engineers and always seemed to have some sort of automotive restoration project going, so I was heavily exposed to all that growing up. I never considered any other field,” she says
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 159,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.