IRVINE, CA – Julie Kurcz, executive director of product quality for Kia Motors America, has been named to the Automotive News 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry for 2020. The list, compiled every five years since 2000 by a team of Automotive News editors and reporters, is comprised of talented and influential women of various disciplines who make a significant impact on the automotive industry. Kurcz is being recognized for the second time.
“This remarkable achievement is well-deserved, but not entirely surprising,” said Sean Yoon, president & CEO, Kia Motors North America & Kia Motors America. “Julie has been a key player in Kia’s incredible success story and is responsible for our brand earning several major accolades in product quality and reliability. We are very proud of her and remain thankful for the talent and leadership she brings to the Kia team every day.”
Julie’s fascination for the automobile sparked at a very early age when she would spend time working with her engineer father in the garage. After college, she shifted smoothly into the auto industry as a manufacturing engineer, and in 2009, she joined Kia with the hopes to help transform the brand into an industry leader in quality and craftsmanship. More than up to the task, Julie has been a key contributor to Kia’s meteoric rise and its world-class model line here in the U.S. Her knowledge, work ethic, and attention to detail were significant factors in Kia becoming J.D. Power’s highest ranked mass market brand in initial quality for six consecutive years.
“I’ve been with Kia for 11 years now and there are so many wonderful moments I’ve experienced along the way, but the launch of the Telluride was a particularly great source of pride for me,” said Kurcz. “Having the opportunity to work with a great team and make a personal contribution to such an amazing vehicle is a highlight in my career, and it has been a privilege to be a part of the Kia team and the evolution of the brand.”
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To compile the list, the selection committee focuses on women who make influential decisions within their organizations. Consideration is based on the size and importance of the candidate’s business, the health and direction of the business, and the overall arc of the candidate’s career. Emphasis is put on women in key product-development and manufacturing roles.
“It’s humbling and I’m very honored to be on this list of such accomplished women,” said Kurcz. “It’s very inspiring for me to read the background and experience of so many diverse and remarkable leaders. To be considered among this group means a lot to me.”
For more information on Automotive News’ 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry, visit https://www.autonews.com/awards/100-leading-women-north-american-auto-industry.