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As president and chief operating officer of Westport, a natural gas engine and vehicle engineering company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Nancy Gougarty facilitated the donation of five Ford trucks to Lawrence Technological University. One, a bi-fuel Ford F-250 that runs on either gasoline or compressed natural gas, is used for student research in Lawrence Tech’s alternative fuels program. Westport also provided the University another F-250, two F-150s and an F-450, which are used for campus maintenance.

Gougarty began her career with General Motors, working as an industrial engineer in the Packard Electric Division, and moving into roles of increasing responsibility in application engineering, finance, operations, and sales. In 1997 she was named managing director for GM's joint venture in Shanghai, followed by a series of appointments accountable for strategic growth in Asia. After the successful post as the director for Delphi Packard, Asia Pacific, Gougarty led Delphi's largest account as a global account director, until becoming the vice president for Delphi Automotive Systems in Japan and Korea.

After GM Gougarty joined TRW Automotive Corporation, where she held a number of positions, ending with vice president for operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Based in Shanghai, Gougarty oversaw the operations of more than 30 plants in the region.