September '18

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12 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2018 someone else and then opened their own business. Jayce Cochran first worked in a truck shop while in high school. She went from answering phones to turning wrenches. She attended WyoTech and became a fleet mechanic for a school district. She recently opened her own diesel and off- road shop. WHAT'S NEEDED NEXT The future is looking bright, thanks to places like It's a new nonprofit foundation that has become the hub for the rest of the industry to reach parents, guidance counselors and students about the value of an auto shop career. It has mentor programs, scholarships, grant information and much more. One of the things it's battling against, however, is women entering the industry and then moving on soon after. "Many technicians are leaving the industry," says Griffin. "The average after two years is only 30 percent of the techni- cians are still in the industry. We need to make it a better place for everyone. We have a shortage of technicians nationwide. As shop owners, we have a responsibility to bring our industry up to a higher level of professionalism. Don't wait for the industry to make this a better place for you—you make it a better place. With passion, per- severance and continuous education, the industry will be a better place for women to work." When asked what can make the auto shop industry a better place for women, most of the answers boiled down to one simple thing. Marlene Spence, an auto painter from Hawaii, may have said it best. "The more women that enter this industry and stay, the better it will get for women." JOANN BORTLES is an award- winning custom painter, air- brush artist, welder/fabricator, tech writer and photojournalist with over 30 years of experi- e n c e i n t h e a u t o m o t i v e industry. She is the author of seven books on automotive, motorcycle and custom painting. Her work has been featured in numerous automotive and motorcycle publications, NBC News, The Today Show, MuscleCar TV and Motor City Masters. JoAnn owns Crazy Horse Custom Paint. INDUSTRY Women In the Online forums and websites like allow women in the industry a chance to con- nect with a supportive community, find mentors and build confidence. Ashley VanDyke of Accessory Masters recommends thinking logically when things get frustrat- ing. "I spent over two years at Muffler Masters with everyone disapproving. Literally. I had men yell at me, technicians talk about me poorly, throw things at me, etc. There was zero re- spect—but why should I have been given any respect from these men? I was a 20-something female who knew less than they had already forgotten in their lifetime. They had been there for 30 years. But I pushed through; I had thick skin and now I'm running a shop!"

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