Jan 07

Rodney O’Neal ’76 writes guest column for New York Times

Rodney O’Neal ’76

Rodney O’Neal, a 1976 Kettering University graduate who is currently the president and CEO of Delphi Automotive, wrote about his education and career experiences in the New York Times this week. From the article:

When I was a senior in high school, the General Motors Institute, now Kettering University, was diversifying. My counselor recommended that I attend G.M.I., but I told her I was interested in studying computer science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. My counselor went so far as to fill out a G.M.I. application and slip it into my locker. I signed it and sent it in just to have her leave me alone. Soon after, G.M.I. sent me an acceptance letter. Attending G.M.I. worked out well because I didn’t know how I would pay for Miami, and the institute had a cooperative program in which I attended classes for six weeks, then worked for six weeks.

After graduating in 1976, I worked at G.M. as a production engineer, making steering wheels. A year later, I became a front line supervisor. I loved the manufacturing floor and learning about different operations. A majority of my crew were women, who helped me learn the job. I learned that people want to help one another. You’re responsible for a job, but you can’t do it alone.