Meet our People

Darcyne Foldenauer, Director, AVSC

It was Darcyne Foldenauer's father who inspired her to explore STEM in school. He was in Quality at Kesey-Hayes' research and development center. On Saturdays he often took Foldenauer to his office to share the design validation tests running on their wheels. She loved the lab! "The environment was inspiring, and I was enthralled with the inspection and analysis dad conducted once the tests were complete," she shared. "Those experiences with my dad led me to become a Quality Technician." From there, Foldenauer's career progressed through Quality Engineer, Quality Manager, and eventually, Director of Quality. Later, she ventured into Program Management which encompassed not only all areas of manufacturing and quality, but it also integrated elements of budget and money management.

After more than 30 years in the automotive manufacturing industry, Foldenauer joined SAE Technologies Consortia (SAE ITC). She celebrated her one-year anniversary in September 2023.

"I was looking for an opportunity to apply my experience while doing something a little different and expanding my knowledge base. The Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC) is a perfect fit. The opportunity to learn here is tremendous," she said. The AVSC shares information to accelerate industry-wide standards and advance the safe development, deployment, and fleet operations of automated driving systems (ADSs). In aggregate, members represent millions of cumulative miles of physical and simulated ADS testing focused on safer, reliable, high-quality transportation. Foldenauer's background in Quality and Program Management is vital in her role, but she feels most engaged and energized by all there is to learn about ADSs as well as all the industry sectors that SAE serves.

"My job is all about people, standards, and processes," Foldenauer said. "Every day, I have the opportunity to collaborate and negotiate with innovators as we drive toward publishing the best practices that define and support the autonomous vehicle industry." The steps that lead to publication require a lot of support and management. After prioritizing potential best practice topics, she works with AVSC staff and members to define the document's scope. From there, the document moves through outline development, the collection of input and feedback, copyediting, and the building of consensus for final publication approval, which leads to 60 plus steps in the publication process. Of course, this all while maintaining timelines and budgets. She adds, "My experience has helped me create a process for maintaining operational consistency that ensures the AVSC team continues performing and producing at the highest levels."

Throughout her career, Foldenauer found a formula for success that she gladly shares with anyone, particularly young professionals, who may be seeking advice or guidance. In fact, over the last seven years, she's been active in Menttium, a professional mentoring organization. "Mentoring is a passion of mine," she said. "I have had some amazing mentors throughout my career, most of whom did not even realize they were acting in such a capacity."

Stephen Covey once said, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood," and this has been a foundational quote throughout Foldenauer's career. She says it's critical to keep an open mind and listen more than you talk. She believes progress is most often a collaborative effort rather than a solo one. Working to understand other perspectives and connecting with people through active listening often changes how you view an issue. As our perspective changes, we can see issues more clearly. Not only can this result in more effective solutions, but it can also lead to personal growth.

Foldenauer says, "It is all about people, and I am so happy and proud to be a member of the AVSC team at SAE-ITC!"