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Former Ridge woman helped launch of new Acura

When the new Acura TLX begins arriving in dealer showrooms across the U.S. later this month, playing a large role to get to that milestone was a woman from the Mahoning Valley.

Kelly Ziccardi, 36, is an engineering coordinator for Honda of America Mfg., Inc., and works as a new model project leader in the New Model Department at the automaker’s plant in Marysville northwest of Columbus.

She’s also a graduate of Mineral Ridge High School and Youngstown State University, where she earned her industrial systems and engineering degree in 2007 before immediately departing for a job with Honda.

At YSU, she was in a co-op program with Honda.

“I graduated and had already had a job lined up with Honda because I had been working there through my co-op, so I immediately started at Honda upon graduation,” said Ziccardi, named Engineering Woman of the Year for the YSU Class of 2007.

Mass production of the 2021 TLX began Aug. 28 with it arriving in showrooms Sept. 28.

In her role, Ziccardi was responsible for scheduling, communications and ordering parts for the departments at the plant to support trial events before the mass production launch of the fifth-generation sport sedan.

A trial event is pretty much what it sounds like — trial production of the vehicle to prepare the manufacturing departments for mass production.

The sprawling complex contains multiple departments, from stamping to welding to plastics forming, paint, assembly and quality.

“All of those different areas I communicate to to make sure they have what they need to do these trial events and I understand what it takes from all of their areas to process a unit … so we are constantly meeting to understand what are the requirements of the departments, what’s needed with the timing, so it is a large undertaking, but we have done it repeatedly so we have some good processes in place to do that and our team has been very good, too, to work together to make this happen.”

Her path to Marysville came through Lordstown and the former General Motors plant.

While in high school she was part of an internship and job shadow program at the metal fabrication plant to learn about the automobile industry and manufacturing. It was that exposure when she was looking for internships in college that drew her toward Honda, she said.

Ziccardi joined Honda in June 2007 as a staff engineer working on numerous assignments through the Engineering Development Program and then later in the Paint Department, Technical Planning Group. It was during her time with Paint, that Ziccardi first gained experience with new model projects, serving as the Bumper Paint Project Leader for the 2013 Accord and 2014 Accord FHEV.

In 2013, Ziccardi transitioned into a new role as the plant engineering development program coordinator. In this position, she mentored entry-level engineers and helped them gain exposure to multiple plants, divisions and departments within Honda of America.

She lives in Marysville with her husband and son. She is a parent volunteer with a local Cub Scout program and also has been an active fundraiser and team member in the Relay For Life events of Mahoning County for the past nine years.

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