Ashley Pearce, ’11
Ashley Pearce graduated from Auburn University with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and political science in 2009 and went on to earn a Master of Industrial and Systems Engineering, with a focus in occupational safety, ergonomics and human factors, in 2011.
Pearce is currently the Safety & Health Assistant Manager at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing in Madison, Ala. Through her role, Pearce manages a team of five safety specialists and one medical specialist.
“We lead our company’s safety management system, which covers OSHA requirements, safety training, engagement, and program implementation, incident investigation and countermeasures, and proactive risk reduction activities,” Pearce said. “We also manage the on-site health & wellness center, a third-party medical provider that team members can see for both personal and work-related care, and a team of early intervention specialists, many of which are athletic trainers or degrees in biology or physiology and provide ergonomic assessments, posture coaching, work conditioning, and other musculoskeletal care for manufacturing team members.”
Prior to Mazda Toyota, Pearce worked for the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina at North Carolina State University and at Yamaha in Newnan, Ga. Through both experiences she developed a love of manufacturing.
“The manufacturing environment built on teamwork, problem solving, and employee empowerment and development, all towards a common goal creates opportunities for people to truly be the best that they can be.,” Pearce said. “I have been blessed to work in such environments, and now to be a part of building it at a brand-new company.”
Pearce said her education through the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering opened doors she didn’t know existed.
“I always knew I would be an industrial engineer when I grew up, but before I started in Auburn’s ISE program, I didn’t know what that really meant,” she said. “My ISE program took that general idea and gave me a better understanding of what it meant, introduced me to the field of occupational safety and ergonomics, then turned it into a goal I could work toward.”
Pearce remembers her time at Auburn fondly, from the excitement of running through the Jordan-Hare Stadium tunnel onto the field for pre-game as part of the Auburn University Marching Band, to her first ISE graduate class.
“After leaving that first class, I knew that this is what I am supposed to be doing and is where I needed to be to find my career,” she remembered. “There’s not much that compares to knowing that you’re in the right place, at the right time, and doing the right thing.”
Pearce decided to be involved with the Alumni Council as a wait to maintain involvement with Auburn University and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
“I’m grateful to be able to return to Auburn and continue to be a part of the Auburn University story,” she said. During my career, I’ve been in the position to hire three engineers/specialists, I’ve also worked with about six to eight co-op students. I hope to be able to share any insight I can as a hiring manager and also as a practitioner to help develop programs that will give Auburn engineers the best opportunities and advantages after graduation.”
Pearce has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council since 2021.