by Martha Hindes
(Excerpted from the April/May issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine)
Denise Gray must sometimes feel she’s carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. If not the world, then at least General Motors Corporation.
Denise, petite in a trim brown pantsuit, walks commandingly around a display of the international automaker’s new, not-so-secret weapon. It’s the technologically advanced Chevrolet Volt, a futuristic hybrid electrically propelled auto. Designed to plug into a standard wall socket for a battery charge, it will cruise for miles before needing a modest energy boost from a small gasoline engine.
GM could thank Denise for the vehicle’s stage of readiness in January at the Motor City’s annual international auto show. The Volt literally glistened in the glare of camera flashes and spotlights. Without her, the vehicle might not have been ready for its introduction, boasting the all-important Volt battery, without which you can’t store enough power to make the whole concept work. Without her, it might not be on the horizon for sale at Chevrolet dealerships within the next two years. And it might not be the catalyst for GM’s energy-stingy future.
Denise is poised, assured and articulate. Her rapid-fire conversation, sparked occasionally with a touch of self-deprecating humor, suggests that her energy alone could set a fire under the giant automaker. Now at 45 with a series of solid promotions and in-depth training behind her, she is responsible for the very guts of the Volt’s high-tech electrical storage. As director of GM’s Hybrid Energy Storage Systems, it has been her job to decide the best way to get it done.
Pick up the April/May issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine for more on Denise and the Chevy Volt.