I’m passionate about seeing designs through product development come to life. Manufacturing allows us to bring concepts from the computer to the consumers. At Harley-Davidson, we fulfill dreams of personal freedom and to be able to ride our product is what motivates me.”
Since joining Harley-Davidson in 2001, Gretchen has served in multiple capacities and made a significant impact on the company throughout her career. As Supply Base Lead for the company’s parts and accessories business, she managed contract negotiations, relationships, and performance with suppliers valued at $100M in the company spend, identifying $3M in annual cost savings in the process. Today, she serves as one of six engineering managers overseeing new product development for the company’s Parts and Accessories division, the second-largest product organization at Harley-Davidson. Gretchen and her team standardized a painted parts process, which allowed lead times to drop from 30 days to 6 days; revenue to increase by $1.5M, and on-time delivery to increase to 95 percent from 73 percent. Through effective communication and a strong inner drive, Gretchen holds herself, her team and stakeholders accountable for their commitments.
As a member of Marquette University’s Mechanical Engineering Industrial Advisory Board (IAB), Gretchen maintains a strong, longstanding relationship with her alma mater. She proactively leveraged her position with the board in order to strengthen the relationship between Marquette University and Harley-Davidson, while promoting Engineering and Manufacturing. In addition to working with Marquette’s SAE Baja off-road vehicle race team to provide students with design feedback, Gretchen advocates and recruits for Harley-Davidson’s co-op program through presentations to students and serves as a student mentor.
Gretchen’s extensive volunteer efforts both inside and outside of Harley-Davidson have allowed her to inspire and influence young women interested in engineering. In addition to her involvement with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Gretchen is a member of the of Harley-Davidson C.R.E.W. (Connecting Relationships Empowering Women) organization. Her commitment to cultivating the next generation of industry leaders can also be seen through her participation in numerous recruiting events, and her involvement in volunteer efforts with Junior Achievement.