Top Designer Advances - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

If Ralph V. Gilles were an off-road vehicle, he would be “Trail Rated,” a badge of honor bestowed on Jeep 4x4s that meet stringent requirements and perform under challenging conditions. Gilles, 36, was recently promoted to vice president of Jeep/Truck and Component Design for DaimlerChrysler Corp.’s Chrysler Group, making him the youngest vice president at the automaker. Named to BLACK ENTERPRISE’S Top Designers list in May 2005, Gilles previously served as director and lead designer of the 2005 Chrysler 300C — Motor Trend magazine’s Car of the Year. Based on automotive awards won within the initial year of model introduction, Gilles’ 300C model has been called the most awarded new car ever.
“It’s easy to create a very expensive exotic vehicle or luxury car. It is more challenging to do it at accessible prices,” he says.
In this new position, Gilles will have broader influence with senior management. In addition, as head of the component studio, he will direct design of electronics, speedometers, and switches.
Gilles says, “I want to take Chrysler to the point where we are irreproachable and help create a truly world-class company.”

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.