Gravitas Detroit: Future-Focused Leadership with Mary Buchzeiger

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Episode Summary

Where most people see a roadblock, Mary Buchzeiger sees an opportunity. Her infectious optimism and willingness to step into uncertain situations have propelled her career in automotive leadership. Jan welcomes the longtime CEO of Lucerne International for a frank and intimate discussion about navigating the turbulent auto industry.

From Lucerne’s recent decision to onshore manufacturing to the inner workings of its entrepreneurial operating system, Mary shares how her company has kept a focus on the future while adjusting to challenging situations in the present.

Effective ten-year plans may seem like a pipe dream to some automotive suppliers, but Mary demonstrates how a positive team culture with high accountability can yield results in any business climate.

“We’ve got crisis after crisis that we deal with just like any other business,” Mary says. She says it’s not always easy to set aside time to dream, plan and work on the business. Yet without making time for strategic projects, a business is doomed to stagnate and fail.

On this insightful episode of the Automotive Leaders Podcast, Jan draws out the details of Mary’s most daunting professional challenges and her unwavering commitment to her family.

Themes discussed on this episode:

  • Why onshoring manufacturing is growing in popularity
  • The importance of an entrepreneurial operating system
  • How to set goals as a company — and stick to them
  • Best practices for leading people in difficult times
  • Tips for successfully managing career and family


Featured Guest: Mary Buchzeiger

What she does: Mary is the CEO of Lucerne International, a Michigan-based global automotive supplier specializing in castings, forgings and stampings. She sits on the Automotive Hall of Fame’s board of directors, and her numerous accolades include her recognition in Automotive News’ 100 Leading Women in the North American Automotive Industry.

On leadership: “My team and I spend a lot of time planning and looking at the future […] Our business has an operating system. We use this framework to really help build our vision and make sure that we’re all rowing in the same direction in the same boat. We all know exactly where we’re going.”