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Through team-building and intelligient risk-taking, CEO Adriane Brown drives the $4.5 billion Honeywell Transportation Systems to global dominance

In each Honeywell division she has managed, Brown’s practices have lit the spark for her team to develop innovative breakthroughs and find ways to significantly increase customer satisfaction. They have also kept her on the road, visiting the unit’s 40 factories around the globe. At a factory stop in Ohio, a woman asked her what it was like to be a female executive in a male-dominated business. “I stick out in the crowd, but to be honest, I don’t care what they think,” responded Brown. “It’s the best thing for us when they underestimate me and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Often, differences add value to an organization. “Because of Adriane’s experience in the aerospace industry, she brings a new perspective to the automotive arena,” says Rhonda Germany, a corporate vice president at Honeywell. “She’s taking the concept of reliability, which is absolutely critical in aerospace, and bringing that same focus to the automotive space. Reliability is valued by our auto customers, and Adriane is driving our reliability culture in Transportation Systems to a new level.”

BOLD PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
Brown has audacious plans for the world’s leading automotive supplier, which produces everything from Garrett turbochargers and thermal systems through Turbo Technologies to Autolite spark plugs and Prestone antifreeze through its Consumer Products Group. “My mission is to increase the number of turbo diesel vehicles here in the U.S.,” she says. “Turbo diesels are up to 40% more fuel efficient than regular gasoline vehicles, which is why they account for more than 50% of all cars in Europe.”

It is widely acknowledged by financial analysts that the turbo business is propelled by three major trends: fuel economy, reduced emissions, and driving performance. In fact, an independent market report by Global Insight shows boosted engines growing globally from 26% of the automotive market to 33% — more than three times the growth rate of the overall auto market. Brown anticipates “global dieselization” will drive revenue and market share growth, especially as more diesel engines come to the U.S. and Asia. Moreover, the Consumer Products Group is also poised to support emissions reducing technologies through new filtration capabilities.

Brown is not likely to stray from her vision. “She is passionate and focused. She is using that focus to pursue a turbo on every vehicle and is leveraging her environmental background to drive U.S. dieselization. She’s pushing relentlessly for its adoption to help the U.S. become less dependent on foreign oil imports,” says Germany.

In fact, Transportation Systems has emerged as a global player in recent years. “Tapping into less mature markets outside our borders provides new opportunities for growth in all of Honeywell’s businesses,” Brown says, “and Transportation Systems is at the forefront of that trend, with more than 64% of our revenue outside the U.S.”

Earlier this year, Brown announced the reorganization of Turbo Technologies from a regional operation into a global business managed by segment — passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles. As the world’s leading turbo producer, such a structural change seemed a risky proposition. Before taking

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