Auburn Hills, Mich. — Karen Williams is about as humble as they come.
She hesitates to talk about herself and her many accomplishments throughout her career as well as in her personal life. When the spotlight — or, rather, a reporter's pen, notebook and audio recorder — is turned on her, she is quick to express some uneasiness.
"I really don't like talking about myself like this, just so you know; I really don't," the 39-year-old said during a recent visit to Continental Structural Plastics Inc.'s headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Williams, who currently resides in the Fort Wayne, Ind., area, joined CSP in 2010. The company, owned by Japanese materials firm Teijin Ltd., manufactures lightweight composites and other materials for the automotive, heavy truck, HVAC and construction industries.
At CSP, Williams has held positions such as quality manager, quality engineer and, more recently, corporate quality manager, where she was the first point of contact for product quality related to launches across multiple facilities.
On April 23, the company announced Williams had been promoted to plant manager of its 340,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Huntington, Ind. The announcement marked the first time a woman had been appointed to a plant management position in CSP's nearly 50-year history.
The Huntington facility was previously owned by Meridian Automotive Systems Inc., an auto parts maker that closed in 2009 after filing for Chapter 7 liquidation amid declining auto sales during the recession.
"I worked at [Meridian] from 2006 to 2009, so I've actually been in the [Huntington] building since 2006," Williams said.
The site got a $33.5 million face-lift in 2016, including the construction of a new 130,000-square-foot facility on 6 acres that sits adjacent to the original 210,000-square-foot plant. Work on the new building was completed last year.