Trailblazers: Lara Harrington, Chief Engineer at Honda

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In July, 10TV asked you to nominate women whom you see as a progressive leader in our community. This week, meet the women you named as central Ohio Trailblazers who are paving the way for future generations to succeed.

For as long as she can remember, Lara Harrington loved to tinker with cars just like her dad.

"From the time I was young, I grew up working alongside my father in the garage repairing automobiles," says Harrington, who is now the Chief Engineer at Honda's Research and Development Americas based in Raymond, Ohio. "I loved to work with my hands and this was helpful because I was able to gain some fundamental experience in engineering and also spend some time with my dad."

Harrington took her love of automobiles and drove it into a career that has taken her through the ranks of Honda when she first joined in 1991as a structural design engineer. One of the first few cars she worked on was the 1996 Acura CL.

She says "there is no greater joy than seeing someone drive down the road in a product that you helped create." Harrington has put her mark on others cars including the 1998 Accord Coupe, the 2001 MDX programs, and the 2003 Honda Pilot.

As her career progressed, so did her rank in an industry that she readily admits is male-dominated.

"Sometimes young women, they wonder 'what it is they have to offer?'" Harrington asks. "And the answer is they have quite a bit to offer this industry. There are a lot of opportunities for young women in engineering, in automotive engineering more so than there have ever been."

Her colleagues say she is part of the reason why there are more opportunities for women, including serving as a mentor and role model to young female engineers. Last year, Harrington was named to the 2015 Automotive News "Top 100 Women in the Auto Industry."

"What's really important for me, though, is that this now provides a road map or opportunity for other women who work at Honda," Harrington says of being nominated as a 10TV Trailblazer.

She offers a bit of advice for girls who might feel a little intimidated: "Don't be afraid. There will be a lot of guys in your classes, but that's okay because women purchase over 50 percent of the cars that are sold in the U.S."

She goes on to remind young girls to never be shy.

"Speak up. We want to hear your voice because your opinions matter."

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Other trailblazers:

Marica Phipps of Battered Not Broken

Cindy Monroe of Thirty-One Gifts