September '18

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8 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2018 against us, however, when entering a male- dominated field. Many women have told me how impor- tant it is to have thick skin and blow-off bad attitudes of men and even other women in the shop—to not let it get to you. Amber Ray Scotti has a very cool job working for Penske Vehicle Services. She paints special vehicle projects, such as doing the paint and matte clear finishes on Hellcats and Fiat Spiders. "Many women feel no one gives them the respect and time to learn," she reveals. "You make a mistake and you're automatically a joke. You're judged from the moment you walk into the shop." VanDyke also notices the increased scru- tiny women face. "It's hard to be forced to prove yourself in everything that you do. You have to be willing to look at every day as a new challenge and be ready to give it your all." Healthy communication is another item that factors into successful shop experi- ences. Dez Ferrell worked for years in collision shops. She recently opened her own res- toration shop, but still does collision work on the side. "Men think and say things completely different than women," she notes. "It wasn't until I worked with an amazing body man who took the time to work on our com- munication together, that we finally hit it off and became the best team ever. The boss always said we were a great example of teamwork. But it took many conversa- tions and therapy moments to get there." BABY BLUES? The women interviewed revealed another concern many shop owners have regarding female employees: that they might become pregnant. Of course, there are many women who worked through their preg- nancies, had their child and went back to work at the shop. "I've had a daughter and been pregnant during my 15 years in the business," says Shannon Lee Seavolt. "That wasn't easy. But I worked for a great company that kept me and allowed me to enjoy pregnancy and still be an asset to their business." Molly Gerksy of Driven Restorations recently hired a young woman, and she herself has worked through two pregnan- cies in her shop. "Always make sure to use the proper PPE (personal protective equipment) and know when you're at your limit. Most women work well into their pregnancy, but a smart employer will tap into a person's skill set, and if someone can't work on the shop floor, there's always something else that they can do, like doing estimates or ordering parts." TRAINING & EDUCATION Two-thirds of the women interviewed here went to tech school for automo- tive mechanical or autobody and paint training. The rest either received on-the- job instruction as apprentices or self- trained, as I did. High school auto shop programs and Ashley Stollberg took part in a high school apprentice program in 2007. She now owns a small independent shop. "It's not the industry itself that needs to change, but people's per- ception of it. Men aren't born with some innate ability to understand an engine, and neither are women. That's where training comes in. The two most important things you need to be successful in this field are dedication and a willingness to learn." In 2012, members of the SEMA Businesswomen's Network made history by doing an all- female car build. Here Karen Salvaggio, me, Kellie Colf, Camee Edelbrook and Samantha Whitfield work on installing an Edelbrook supercharger on the 2013 Ford Mustang GT. INDUSTRY Women In the

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