100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry
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CEO • Patriarch Partners • Age 51
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Why did you want to work in the auto industry? To make an investment return and save manufacturing jobs, upon which the American middle class was built.

First automotive job: I bought three auto parts stamping companies in 2005 and operated them as Global Automotive Systems.

Proudest professional achievement: I bought and preserved 75 distressed companies, saving 250,000 jobs.

Current challenge at work: To continue to innovate in manufacturing where capital is severely restricted.

Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for female executives? There's a perceived ceiling of where women can reach.

On Tony's mistake: In my first meeting with Tony Brown [Ford purchasing chief], he asked me if Patriarch Partners was just another private equity company intent on stripping and flipping Dura. I said: Tony, you must be mistaken. It's only men that I strip and flip.

What you do to relax: Read and work out.

— David Barkholz

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