Manufacturing,Under the Pentastar | February 28 2023

Celebrating Black History Month: Honoring our Stamping and Human Resources Leaders

As we commemorate Black History Month, we are honoring the people who are at the heart and soul of our Company; the people who ensure the smooth, safe and successful operations at our manufacturing plants every day.

Meet four Stellantis Black leaders, Lori Otis, Emar Stringer, Curtis Booth and Tobin Williams, who have turned life lessons into successful careers with the Company.

Lori Otis, senior human resources business partner – North America manufacturing

The daughter of a production operator at Trenton Engine, Lori Otis hoped to be a professional ballet dancer. She spent her first few years after high school in New York, dancing and taking odd jobs as she pursued a career performing. Otis then decided to return home, and she took a job as a customer service center representative (a salaried bargaining unit position), working out of Chrysler’s Highland Park headquarters. While there, Otis focused on expanding her network – which helped her move into human resources (HR). Her mentors introduced her to different parts of the organization and encouraged her to get her master’s degree. Her first role in HR was in executive learning and development. After that she moved to Warren Truck where she was a salary administrator.  

“It was at Warren Truck that I developed a passion for manufacturing – the smell, grit, the people that make the cars, the whole process from beginning to end is mind boggling,” Otis said.  

“The people behind our products give it their all. The people in the plants believe in our products. Each plant is its own family. I’ve always admired this about manufacturing,” she said. 

 She is currently senior human resources business professional (HRBP) overseeing all North America manufacturing.

“This role helps me help families,” she said. “Thinking back to my own experiences growing up and seeing how difficult it was when my dad was laid off, I am humbled I can help families out.”

Emar Stringer, assembly center manager, Sterling Stamping

Emar Stringer, assembly center manager at Sterling Stamping, didn’t always dream of a career in the automotive industry. As a student at Eastern Michigan University, his original major was biology, influenced by his mom who was a nurse.

“I’ve always been a strong student and had a love for academics,” Stringer said. “After a lot of thought, I realized I could still have a love for health and medicine like my mom, but that I’d be better suited for a career in engineering.”  

Stringer’s second job out of college was at Warren Stamping in 2012 as a quality engineer. He was promoted several times in the engineering department while there. During this time, he completed his master’s degree in quality management. After nearly a decade, he knew his hard work and dedication to improving quality had paid off when he was offered the assembly center manager job at Sterling Stamping. 

“Being promoted to a position in senior leadership is a major accomplishment for me, especially since I pride myself on being a versatile and dynamic leader,” Stringer said. “Knowing that the leadership was advocating for me gave me the confidence to apply and ultimately be awarded the position of which I am very grateful.” 

Stringer enjoys the fast-paced environment and the opportunity to develop people in the plant. As he mentors those just starting their career in manufacturing, he urges them to have patience.  

“Focus not only on upward career development, but broaden your knowledge base and skillset,” he said. “Take a few lateral career moves to help you develop a broader sense of the industry. The key to success in manufacturing is not just understanding your scope, but also how your scope influences others.”

Stringer believes Stellantis is at the forefront of diversity, putting its Black employees in positions to be leaders.

“I can see others coming up in the organization,” Stringer said. “This is a tribute to the work Stellantis is doing – they gave us a platform – someone to look up to. I can see it; I can feel it and I can embrace it.” 

Curtis Booth, press room center manager at Warren Stamping

Someone else who knows his way around a stamping plant is Curtis Booth, press room center manager at Warren Stamping. A nearly 30-year veteran in stamping operations, Booth, joins Stringer as a sheet metal subject matter expert.

His passion for the die-making trade developed shortly after he joined Chrysler as a temporary production operator at Warren Truck in 1994. After becoming a full-time employee, he jumped at an opportunity to enter a four-year skilled-trades apprenticeship program. Upon graduation, Booth began his first stint at Warren Stamping as a die-maker. 

Booth joined the management team in 2001 as a new model die construction supervisor. He continued to demonstrate his knowledge of stamping operations, leading to many promotions throughout the division. 

In 2014, Booth was assigned to the Mt. Elliott plant, where he served as the die operations manager, planning manager and workplace organization lead. 

“It was one of the most gratifying experiences of my career,” Booth said. “I was able to engage and educate the workforce about the importance of the Company’s production methodology before the plant idled in 2018.” 

It was at that time that Booth took a step back from plant life and moved to corporate, where he served as a program manager for four years. During this time, he worked on cost, timing and scope for launching production tools. Booth continued to pursue new opportunities in manufacturing that aligned with his career ambitions, finally landing at Sterling Stamping as the press room area manager.

His career would continue to advance, being tapped to step-in as the acting quality center manager at Warren Stamping before ultimately taking the reigns in his current role.

Booth always makes time to mentor and support his team, passing on his wealth of knowledge and experience to the next generation of manufacturing professionals. He attributes part of his success to the incredible mentors he’s had throughout his career. 

“I’m very fortunate to have been mentored by some of the Company’s finest,” Booth said. “These men took me under their wings and provided me career advice that I carry with me every day.”  

And he pays it forward by mentoring and coaching young people in his community. 

Tobin Williams, senior vice president, human resources, North America

With a career that has spanned more than three decades, three continents, and the opportunity to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, Tobin Williams has a passion for driving change and creating workplace cultures built on respect and opportunity. 

Williams joined Stellantis in 2022 as senior vice president of North America human resources after a 35-year career with GM. There he held various HR leadership positions in the U.S. and abroad, including assignments in Thailand and India, before retiring in 2017. 

But unlike many people who retire after a successful career, Williams wasn’t quite ready for the calm and relaxation, and came out of retirement to ultimately take his place on Stellantis’ leadership team.

Williams is a strong advocate for social responsibility, leading the Company’s talent and leadership development initiatives and supporting the goals set forth in its long-term strategy, Dare Forward 2030.  

Williams pours his passion for mentorship into developing those interested in advancing their careers within the company and the industry. He credits remaining flexible and open to new opportunities as the keys to his success and encourages others to build a broad skillset by expanding their knowledge and perspective.  

He believes Stellantis has an authentic passion for diversity and inclusion.

“There is a diligence from our leadership in the development of the Company’s diverse employees,” Williams said. “I have seen the commitment from our leaders to ensure there is appropriate representation throughout the organization. This action simply makes our business better.” 

These four leaders have established themselves as role models in their area of expertise. They are an inspiration to us all. Thank you to all of our Black leaders as well as all of the employees across our organization who help build award-winning cars, trucks and SUVs that our customers enjoy driving and want to buy again.