WIFS Consumer Scientist Consumer Scientist for Whirlpool Corporation
As a consumer scientist, Mary Zeitler is serious about using
consumer insights to help guide the product development and
testing processes. For 21 years, Zeitler has worked in the
Whirlpool laboratories, bringing the ever-evolving consumer needs
to the forefront when working on the development of new laundry
appliances. She lives for the challenging demands of optimizing
every step of the wash process.
"I enjoy the challenge of getting stains out, or helping design
wash cycles so they strike the right balance between getting
clothes clean and being gentle on fabrics," she notes.
A large part of Zeitler's job is to stay ahead of the curve when
it comes to laundry trends. She acts as a link between the
marketing and design engineering groups to ensure the laundry
appliance design meets the customer's needs and expectations. She
spends a great deal of time studying consumer habits and textile
trends, interpreting data from outside trend reports and
participating in field studies to gauge perceptions of new
products and features. Using that product knowledge and feedback
from consumers, Zeitler incorporates suggestions, research and
the latest family needs into new laundry innovations.
Notably, Zeitler and her colleagues were recently responsible for
bringing high efficiency performance to top-loading washers,
giving consumers more laundry appliance choices with the added
benefit of water and energy savings.
Zeitler enjoys a good stain challenge and goes to great lengths
to remove even the most stubborn stains from her own clothing.
She advises consumers to become more familiar with their
appliances. Clothing is a major investment and knowing the
capabilities of the washer and dryer ensures fabrics will look
better and last longer than ever before.
Zeitler is also quick to clear up misconceptions about home
economists. "We're not all like June Cleaver. People think we
must be good cooks and make our own clothes. I'm an okay cook,
but I can barely sew on a button."