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DAA: Matthew C. Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew C. Reynolds

Auburn Hills, MI | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2006

In an industry steered by customer demands and fueled by intense competition, it’s not enough to stay in the driver’s seat. You’ve got to accelerate. “I’m competitive by nature, and while it’s fun to compete, it’s much more fun to win,” says Matthew Reynolds, Director of Interior Component Systems Engineering for the Daimler Chrysler Corporation. After graduating with a degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Reynolds joined the Chrysler Center in 1984 as a product engineer; he has racked up miles of victories ever since. In 1991, he was responsible for production of $60 million worth of parts to support manufacture of the LH sedan at two assembly plants. Currently, Reynolds leads Interior Component teams that design, develop, and integrate approximately 20 percent of the total vehicle cost on more than two million automobiles produced annually. His position combines an engineer’s expertise with a keen knack for exceeding customer expectations. “Occupant safety has always been my key focus,” says Reynolds. To this end, he was instrumental in assessing and implementing enhanced interior vehicle features such as night vision, Global Positioning System location/maps, collision avoidance, and improved tractability. Reynolds’ initial work at Chrysler included development of new oils for use in transaxles, an early road marker pointing toward today’s biggest automotive industry challenge — advancement of alternative fuels and power systems. Over the next 20 years, he predicts engineering innovations will swerve from internal combustion engines and fuel sources will shift from fossil fuels to soybean fields. When it’s time for a detour, Reynolds takes his competitive spirit to the great outdoors where he enjoys fly-fishing, mountain biking, and snow skiing. “Developing teamwork and leadership skills as part of undergraduate training is important. Ours is ultimately a ‘people’ business. The ability to bring many bright minds together to meet customer expectations is the key to success.”