Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Big Leap: Amber Schultz’s Career Journey

You don’t expect to see an engineer who has spent 20 years in material development move to a purchasing role, but that’s exactly where Amber Schultz’s DENSO career path took her.

“I am driven by continuous learning. At DENSO, there are so many opportunities to have different experiences and work with diverse groups of people where we can learn from each other,” Amber said. “I enjoy learning what is done well in different departments, building on it and applying it elsewhere. I’m a problem solver, and really enjoy implementing things that make people’s lives and jobs better.”

Where It All Started 
In 2003, after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, Amber joined DENSO at its regional headquarters in Southfield, Michigan, as an entry-level material engineer in the North America Material Engineering Department (NAMED). Working in the non-metal area of the group, she focused on many important projects, including developing lightweight materials for HVAC cases, adoption of resin heat sink materials for heads-up-displays (HUDs) and incorporating recycled materials into resins while maintaining high quality and performance.  Throughout the years, her roles included manager and senior manager positions. 

“My favorite part of the job is working with cross-functional teams to drive new innovations and solve complex problems,” she said.

A Big Leap
Though she enjoyed her job, Amber wanted to learn more about DENSO and its business. So, after discussions with her leadership, she took a rotation with the North America Purchasing Group (NAPG) in January 2021. During her rotation, Amber managed the Planning and MRO Commodity teams, including development of the Supplier Portal, a project that will standardize and automate much of the information sharing between DENSO and its suppliers. 

“In NAMED, we mostly worked on material developments with implementation dates a few years out, so there was a more forgiving timescale,” she said. “That was not the case in my purchasing role because COVID and the resulting supply chain shortages meant we had to quickly find ways to be more efficient and more effective to help keep operations running and costs low with the existing resources.”


Seeing everyone invest so much manual time and effort to get the job done, Amber knew she had to earn the trust of her teams and make changes. Using her perspective as an engineer, she set out to align her teams’ resources, drive standardization, and adopt digital tools. Her focus on digitalization and process improvement helped streamline the targeted work while improving results and job satisfaction.  

She credits personal attributes, along with training and mentors in helping her develop the skills to do this.

“I’m a process-driven person, I like to see what methods are being followed, find the gaps and systematically fix them,” she said. “I’ve also benefited from developmental opportunities provided by DENSO, including the Regional Leadership Development Program (now Inspire), and from leaders I’ve worked with who have counseled me.”

Discussions with leadership is the heart of her advice to others as they contemplate and plan their career path.

“I recommend associates proactively approach career development planning conversations with their management,” she said. “Have regular discussions about what you want to do and what you’d like to try. Think about what you do well and enjoy, and discuss that with your leadership to identify how and where you can bring the most value to DENSO and to your career.” 

Back To Where It Started 
In April 2022, Amber’s NAPG rotation ended, and she returned to NAMED to lead the non-metal and analysis sections. Today she’s preparing for another role – helping to form a new department, Data Analytics Center of Excellence, to support DENSO’s initiatives for digital transformation and data-driven decision making. 


“Data analytics is a rapidly growing area and one of increasing importance in DENSO’s digital transformation,” she said. “I will lead a team whose purpose is to put our data to work for us, driving better, more informed decision making across the organization.”