Troy, Mich. — You have to wonder if Rose Ryntz is subconsciously designing vehicle interiors for dogs.
The 61-year-old vice president of advanced development and material engineering for Luxembourg-based International Automotive Components Group, a global supplier of instrument panels, center consoles and door trims, drives a 2018 Buick Enclave. But her rationale for choosing the SUV was less about luxury and more about the safety and security of her now 13-year-old rescue dog, Emily.
"The reason I have a Buick Enclave is because my dog cage fits perfectly in the back without me having to the put the seat down," Ryntz said in an interview at her Troy office. "When she was 5, she jumped out of my car."
Before "the incident," Emily — a mixed breed of shar-pei, terrier and pit bull — had free rein of the back seat, trading one window's view for the other, back and forth, with all the tail-wagging excitement stimulated by a world unexplored, squirrels unseen and parks unknown.
"When she stood on the armrest, [her paw] hit the window down button. It went all the way down," she recalled.
Ryntz calmly described the heart-stopping moment when she realized Emily was no longer in the car, a 2008 Saab 9-3 at the time. She had been driving down 15 Mile Road near Groesbeck Highway, a relatively busy intersection in metro Detroit.
"All of a sudden I don't see her in my back seat," she said. "She's in the middle of 15 Mile in the center turn lane. She landed on her paws, scraped her head — didn't break a bone."
Although Ryntz didn't work on the Buick Enclave, over the years she has contributed materials innovations to several vehicle interiors and exteriors that have contributed to safety, function and aesthetics, including a painted thermoplastic polyolefin bumper on the 1995 Ford Windstar minivan; a molded-in-color, scratch-resistant instrument panel on the 2002 Ford Escape; and a lightweight Coreback instrument panel on the 2017 Mini Countryman.
While jumping through a car window with no broken bones is what some might consider an achievement, not all achievements require such dangerous leaps of curiosity. And Ryntz is a good example of how passion for your work can lead to great success almost naturally.