While the auto industry has traditionally been a male-dominated workplace, the number of women in the industry is increasing. Women now make up 27.2% of Canada’s car manufacturing workforce, and female auto enthusiasts looking for role models in the industry are now seeing an increasing number of women filling important roles, including CEOs, designers, engineers, pit mechanics and even race car drivers.
Hopefully, the increased profile of women will lead to a rise in the number of female auto mechanics, who currently make up just 1.8% of the total workforce. This is in spite of the fact that many female drivers are said to prefer their cars being serviced by women, and auto shops being keen to diversify their hiring.
If you’re interested in pursuing in auto industry career, read on to find out more about five of the women working at the pinnacle of their field today.
1. Anna Chatten: How to Become a Mechanic in IndyCar Racing
Any woman looking to become a mechanic should look no further for inspiration than Anna Chatten. A gearbox specialist for the Townsend Bell team, Chatten made history in 2009 as the first woman to go over the wall on pit stops during a race.
A keen go-kart racer as a child, Chatten at one point raced against legendary female Nascar driver Danica Patrick. She worked her way up the racing ladder after taking a mechanics apprenticeship program in California, and has now been working on the circuit for 16 years.
2. Linda Hasenfratz: Automotive Parts Company CEO
Mechanical school students quickly become familiar with the Linamar name once they begin training. Canada’s second largest auto-parts maker, Linamar manufactures a wide range of core engine components, such as cylinder blocks, camshafts, and connecting rods. Since succeeding her father as CEO in 2002, Linda Hasenfratz has tripled the revenue of the company, which now stands at $3.3billion annually. Linamar now has 48 manufacturing facilities globally, and continues to grow.
3. Elizabeth Baron: Technical Specialist in the Automotive Industry
Well-designed cars make mechanics’ jobs much easier, and experts in a wide variety of automotive careers contribute during the design and manufacturing process. As a Technical Specialist in Virtual Reality and Advanced Visualization at Ford, Elizabeth Baron runs the company’s Immersive Virtual Environment Lab.
This facility uses virtual reality technology to allow designers and engineers to test drive cars before they have even been built. The photo -realistic environment helps them to work out mechanical flaws and improve design.
4. Jessica Mace: IndyCar Pit Mechanic and Tire Changer
The first ever female tire changer at the Indy 500, Jessica Mace is part of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Pit Crew, performing tire changes in mere seconds during pit stops. Mace is just 27 years old and also works as a mechanic for the team. She has been part of the crews of stars such as Jacques Villeneuve and Conor Daly, among many others.
5. Mary Barra: General Motors CEO, The Cadillac of Automotive Careers
While auto mechanics are more concerned about the nuts and bolts of a car than the business side of things, this list wouldn’t be complete without arguably the most powerful woman in the auto industry today, General Motors CEO Mary Barra. She is currently attempting to revitalize GM with a focus on energy efficient hybrid models and innovative user technology, already evident with the launch of new models such as the Chevy Cruze and Volt.
Want to learn how to become a mechanic by enrolling in an automotive school?
Visit ATC for more information about our training programs or to speak to an advisor.