Maria Guitar is a senior engineer at Honda R&D Americas, working in the Engine Research division. She joined Honda in 2007, testing & calibrating engine components and evaporative emissions, and is currently the engine research project leader for the 2019-21 Honda Odyssey. Maria grew up in the desert of Kenya, and from an early age she experienced off-roading not only as an adventure but as a means of transportation and everyday life. Her parents first taught her to drive in their 1996 Toyota Hilux, which she loved very much. Growing up, she helped her father work on their truck, setting her on the path to becoming an automotive engineer. Living in Kenya, she had the opportunity to see the WRC Safari Rally, immediately sparking her interest & passion for rally.
Graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology with her BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology in 2007, Maria has been with Honda in Ohio ever since. Once at Honda, she joined the Team Honda Research Rally team, and co-drove for her now husband for a few years.
Currently, she lives with her husband, Jordan, and their cat, Duma, in Columbus, OH. In addition to her love of motorsports & adventure, she also enjoys cooking, painting and traveling around the world with her husband.
Residing in Dublin, OH, Michelle is a crash safety engineer at Honda R&D, ensuring the vehicles’ structure, seats, and seatbelts provide a high level of protection to customers. She has helped Honda achieve Top Safety Pick + from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for many developments including the 2014 Acura MDX, 2016 Honda Civic, 2016 Honda Pilot, 2016 Honda Ridgeline, 2018 Honda Odyssey, and recent 2019 Acura RDX (just to name a few).
Although Michelle grew up near the busy city of Chicago, she gained a love of the outdoors from her parents, who liked to travel and camp every weekend. Michelle and her husband travel all over the nation to discover mountain bike trails and rock climbing destinations. Being Palauan, Michelle inherently loves the water almost more than land! On her last trip to Palau, she went scuba diving with the sharks and reached her deepest depth of 90 feet in an underwater blue hole.
Michelle has always had a curious and adventure-seeking spirit to try new, challenging recreational activities in life. She is super excited for this new adventure of discovering the exhilaration of off-roading on four wheels (instead of two) and navigating in the unfamiliar terrain of the desert! Who knows, this could become another hobby!
When Michelle is not out exploring, she enjoys singing, playing guitar, videography, eating, and hanging out with family and friends.
NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION FOR TEAM SPIRIT AWARD: Destiny Rescue