Events and Awards

2021 Engineering Leader Under 40: Kaleigh Hatfield, 35

Senior Manager, Assembly Manufacturing and Maintenance at Nissan North America Powertrain Plant, MS Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, University of Tennessee at Knoxville

By CFE Media September 8, 2021
Kaleigh Hatfield, 35, Senior Manager, Assembly Manufacturing and Maintenance, Nissan North America Powertrain Plant Decherd, TN, United States MS Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Kaleigh Hatfield, 35
Senior Manager, Assembly Manufacturing and Maintenance
Nissan North America Powertrain Plant Decherd, TN, United States
MS Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Why should this person be recognized for this award?

Since I was her manager at Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC), Kaleigh has progressed through her career at an incredible pace, from the Senior Industrial Engineering role in less than five years at AEDC, to Global Maintenance Reinforcement Supervisor at Nissan Battery Plant, up to Industrial Engineering Manager and Senior Manager over Assembly Manufacturing & Maintenance at the Nissan Decherd Plant. She has achieved numerous certifications, including Lean Six Sigma and Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional. Outside of her professional life, she is actively involved in her community as a leader with non-profit organizations.

Achievements, Advancement & Career-related Industry Contributions

Working backwards through her professional life allows someone to see just how quickly Kaleigh has ascended in her professional life. In her current position as Senior Manager of Assembly Manufacturing and Maintenance at Nissan North America Powertrain Plant, she manages over 300 personnel, including a group of Managers, Supervisors, and Technicians in Production and Maintenance. She is responsible for three high volume assembly lines that produce nearly 500,000 engines and electric motors per year on a multiple-shift operation for Nissan and Infiniti automobiles. She is responsible for tracking various KPIs related to operations and maintenance while ensuring a safe work environment for her entire team. She is also responsible for planning a new engine assembly line with a new complex engine (launching in 2021). Her prior Industrial Engineering Manager position at the same facility meant that she was responsible for managing Industrial Engineers at Nissan and Infiniti plants, evaluating and improving operations and maintenance across both. While Global Maintenance Reinforcement Supervisor at the Nissan North America EV Battery Plant, she led a team in developing Asset Management programs and reliability improvements. While at AEDC, she grew from junior to senior Industrial Engineer while performing and leading multiple continuous improvement efforts.

Non-work-related Activities & Hobbies

Kaleigh has been involved in athletics much of her life, including as Jr. Pro Basketball League Secretary and Team Coach. She wanted to stretch out from her professional life again in a way that was familiar to her and an area of her life where she has excelled in the past. Especially with young girls in a rural community, she seeks to provide a positive role model in their lives. Athletics has been just one more way in which she seeks to make an impact on her community.

Interesting Details

  • Kaleigh was actively involved in one of her passions, the Moore County Relay for Life, for over a decade, attaining Team Captain at the end of her service.
  • Not only has Kaleigh interned at Jack Daniels Distillery, but she also comes from a long family line within the Jack Daniels Distillery organization, where both her grandfather and brother have been Master Distiller.

Why did they choose this career?

“The engineering profession provides many different opportunities to explore this world. Engineers can be found in almost every type of industry, more than just manufacturing and heavy industries. Engineers can also be found at every level of the organization, including up to the chief executive levels. This is likely due to engineering providing not only the understanding of the technical but also the integration of the technical into the business and strategic vision of the organization.”


CFE Media
Author Bio: Since its founding in 2010, CFE Media and Technology has provided engineers in manufacturing, commercial and industrial buildings, and manufacturing control systems with the knowledge they need to improve their operational efficiency. CFE delivers the right information at the right time around the world through a variety of platforms.