Aug. 16, 2016
Debbie Mielewski Research Scientist and Farm to Car Maven Shaping the Future of Ford with Persistence and a Love of Trash Someone else’s trash is Debbie Mielewski’s treasure. It’s a viewpoint the Ford research scientist has built a career on, helping to meet the company’s aggressive sustainability research goals. In the late 1990s when SUVs ruled the road, Mielewski – then technical leader of plastics research at Ford – predicted a time when oil prices would soar, customers would feel the pinch, and Ford would need a solution. In her lab, Mielewski led the charge to reduce the amount of petroleum the company used to produce plastic parts – a financial move with an eye toward environmental consciousness. She turned to soybean oil, a favorite of company founder Henry Ford, and discovered the answer.