Now retired, Sandra “Sonee” Lapadot led a prolific career as an automobile manufacturing company official for more than 40 years. At the start of her career, she was the manager of engineering change implementation for the Terex Division of General Motors in Hudson, Ohio, from 1975 to 1977. As she progressed with the Terex Division of the company, Ms. Lapadot held the posts of a manager of production scheduling and later the general administrator of product purchasing until 1979. Soon thereafter, she relocated to Detroit and continued working with the company as a senior staff assistant of non-ferrous metals in 1979, and held executive roles within the company until her ultimate departure in 1986.
Ms. Lapadot joined the staff of Chrysler in 1986 and excelled in a number of positions, including as the manager of advanced planning and production systems, the manager of engine production control, and the manager of corporate project systems between 1987 and 1995. Following her contributions as a platform executive for special projects for Chrysler Motors, she retired in 2001. In a career filled with highlights, she was gratified to have worked alongside such a wealth of supporting and professional colleagues. During her time with Chrysler, Ms. Lapadot also implemented a 10-digit number for parts and rewrote the control system to include two alphabetic characters after the part numbers could never be altered.
Ms. Lapadot became involved in her profession because she was not happy with the jobs girls were supposed to take at the time. In 1957, she went to an interview with an engineering company for a secretarial job and her son was 9 days old at the time, so she had to work. Additionally, her husband was in school at the time. At the interview, they told her they hired someone already who was more qualified. Being hungry, she asked them if they had anything else, and they suggested that the engineering staff 25 miles away needed a secretary for two hours a day and a drafter for six hours a day. She asked them if having a year and a half of orthographic projection at a college level would be enough training. After looking confused as to why she had that training, Ms. Lapadot proceeded to explain to them and they hired her.
Prior to the start of her career, Ms. Lapadot pursued a formal education at the University of Cincinnati, where she completed coursework between 1954 and 1956. Upon studying at the University of Akron in 1966, she graduated from the Spring Arbor College with a Bachelor of Science in management of human resources in 1991. Moreover, Ms. Lapadot concluded her academic efforts with a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 1995.
In addition to her primary endeavors, Ms. Lapadot contributed to SeaChase as the chairperson of buildings and maintenance, as a member of the board of directors, and the president of the organization between 2004 and 2007. Civically, she has participated in volunteer efforts with the Boy Scouts of America, the United Fund of Detroit, Junior Achievement USA, the Leukemia Society, the Alzheimer Research and the American Institute for Cancer. To remain aware of changes in the field, Ms. Lapadot maintains her professional affiliation with the National Association of Female Executives, the SAE International, the National Association of Professional Women, the American Production and Inventory Control Society, and the Automotive Industry Action Group, among others.
The highlight of Ms. Lapadot’s career was the people working for her, whom she backed, supported and was very discreet with in handling their problems, which they appreciated. She had their respect and she respected them. She also implemented a 10-digit part number at Chrysler and rewrote the control system to take two alphabetic characters after the part numbers so the part number never changed, which she implemented to other plants. Notably, Ms. Lapadot was the first woman in 13 positions leading the way for others.