Top Green Engineer
Angela Harris, 30, research engineer, Ford
Résumé: People associate "green" with electric vehicles, but car materials can be green, too. A chemical engineer who started at Ford as a high school intern, Harris pioneered the creation of the "EnviroSeat," with soy-foam cushions. Four years later, Ford has sold more than 3 million cars with the cushions, and Harris' work is a bright spot in the beleaguered auto industry.
Background Check: "In 1998, I interned in Ford's plastics research group. Then I went to the University of Michigan, where I became very environmentally conscious, but I still wanted to go back to Ford! My senior year, I got an offer as a research engineer there. Now my group creates sustainable materials."
Big Break: "I had the idea for the EnviroSeat, using the biomaterials we'd been working on corn, soy, and sugarcane before Ford's Tech Fair. It got a huge response, but the highlight was presenting it at Ford's annual dealer meeting in 2008. I talked to 1,400 dealers. They loved it!"
Flower Power: "I'm testing Russian dandelions, which produce latex, as a sustainable rubber source for car parts."