Q&A: Linda Trbizan, GM Canada
by Alanna Fairey, Associate Editor
Linda spoke with Canadian Manufacturing about her career at GM Canada, some challenges she has had to overcome and what the future holds
Linda Trbizan is the Plant Director of General Motors CAMI Assembly Operations and has held this position since March 2020. Linda is an active member of the GM Canada Canadian Executive Committee (CEC) and newly appointed executive advisor for the GM Canada Women’s Council.
Linda has previously held the position of co-chair for the CAMI Automotive Inc. Pension Governance Committee, executive champion for JumpStart in Fairfax Assembly as well executive board member and treasurer for the Mount Brydges Bulldogs Junior C Hockey Association.
Linda spoke with Canadian Manufacturing about her career at GM Canada, some challenges she has had to overcome and what the future holds.
Canadian Manufacturing: Talk about your day-to-day tasks and what you do at GM Canada?
Linda Trbizan: I’m responsible for overseeing all aspects of our plant’s performance as we safely build the award-winning Chevrolet Equinox. This includes the management and coordination of daily activities, ensuring all objectives are attained in a cost-effective manner and consistent with quality requirements. I also spend time developing our long-range strategic vision. One area of my role I enjoy the best is advocating for our team; ensuring they feel empowered, supported, and have the right tools to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.
CM: What’s your favourite thing about working at GM Canada?
LT: I’m incredibly proud to work for a company that has such a strong focus on people and is committed to a world of inclusion and diversity. We’re doing more than safely producing great quality vehicles for our customers; we’re changing how people think and as a result making the world a better place for our children and our children’s children.
CM: What has been the project you worked on that you’re most proud of?
LT: There have been so many proud moments throughout my career. I’m very lucky and thankful I’ve had the opportunity to work with such great teams! However, if I were to pick one moment it would be the achievement of the Built in Quality Level 4 (BIQ4) certification we received during my assignment at the GM Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas. We were the first U.S. plant to achieve this status, which forms the basis of GM’s Global Manufacturing System, focusing on Built in Quality, People Involvement, Standardization, Short Lead Time and Continuous Improvement. It wasn’t easy, and it took tremendous collaboration and cooperation from all hourly and salary team members. It was such a proud moment for me and the entire Fairfax team.
CM: What excites you about your future in this industry?
LT: Mary Barra talks about being at an inflection point — and we definitely are! There will be more change, from a technological and innovation standpoint, over the next couple of years than I’ve witnessed in my almost 30 years in this industry. Electric vehicles will make up a large portion of the new models we sell, and connected systems will continue to diminish the role humans play in driving cars as we transition to the world of autonomous vehicles. This transformation is going to be rapid, and I’m incredibly excited to witness it firsthand as our facility embarks on the journey to produce the all-new BrightDrop EV600 fully-electric commercial delivery vehicle. We will be the first company to make electric commercial vehicles on a large scale in Canada!
CM: What drew you to a career in the automotive industry?
LT: I’m a third generation GM employee, not to be cliche but I would say it’s in my blood! I especially love the fast pace and every changing environment of the auto industry. There is never a dull moment!
CM: Did you have mentors as you started in the industry?
LT: I’ve had many mentors throughout my career. Some of which were formal, and others who were informal. I’ve also been fortunate enough to pay it forward and be a mentor to many individuals. I would encourage everyone to get involved in a mentorship program, it’s an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience.
CM: What were the greatest barriers for you as you started out in your career and how did you overcome them?
LT: My greatest barrier was myself – and believing in my own ability. I’ve been very fortunate throughout my career to have people who believed in me even when I may not have believed in myself. People who pushed me into uncomfortable situations and experiences. It’s what helped build my confidence and allowed me to embrace change positively.