Chevrolet Quality Manager Inspires Next Generation of Engineers

GM's Quality Launch Manager for the Chevrolet Volt, Diane Ortega, discusses how her diverse background has opened new doors to her and others at General Motors.

As GM’s Quality Launch Manager for the Chevrolet Volt, Diana Ortega needs to take her work very seriously to ensure every part of the vehicle performs according to exact specifications. Thankfully, she does not take herself too seriously, and her personality and passion are helping her inspire young professionals to consider careers in the automotive industry.

As the daughter of first-generation Mexican immigrants, she considers GM’s mission to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers particularly important, both for women and members of the Hispanic community.

In addition to her important daily work on the Volt, she leads GM’s Hispanic employee recruiting outreach, participates as an active member of the GM Hispanic employee resource group and is currently president of the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

“My mother was a UAW team member for 14 years, so I was fortunate enough to have a strong female role model show me that automotive and engineering were not just industries for men,” said Ortega. “Not everyone is this lucky, so it’s very rewarding to work with organizations like SHPE to show young men and women from diverse backgrounds the amazing opportunities available within GM and our industry.”

Ortega began her own career in the automotive industry when she was a student at the University of Detroit, Mercy. She joined a co-op program and was granted a year at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey—one of Mexico’s top universities—to participate in a unique curriculum for bilingual Hispanic engineers, known at the MAP (Mexican American Partnership) program.

After college, she joined GM and had the opportunity to immediately apply her language and engineering skills during the launch of a new full-sized truck at the GM plant in Silao, Mexico. Before joining the Hamtramck team in 2013, she utilized her multicultural engineering skillset to lead many more vehicle launches, collaborating with diverse colleagues from North America, Europe and Asia.

After she returned to Detroit, she completed her MBA at the University of Michigan, and met her husband Ruben through a family friend. Today, her children Ivanna Odilia and Ruben Alejandro inspire her quality management work every day.

“It gives me a great sense of pride to know that my work helps keep thousands of other families safe,” said Ortega. “Through GM’s ongoing efforts to promote STEM careers, I hope that many more engineers from diverse backgrounds like mine will consider opportunities in the auto industry.”