Today is International Women’s Day, and it wouldn’t be complete without highlighting a few women in auto glass. Though the industry has been and is still predominately male driven, more women are finding success working on everything from installs to shop ownership.
“I think more women should get into this industry because it can help your business grow, it did for our business,” says Alicia Maples, co-owner of Fix-A-Crack Windshield Repair & Replacement.
“There have been times when I’ve been out doing mobile repairs and people have slowed down to see what I was doing crawling around a car. Then they’ve called our shop to confirm that yes a woman was working a car by herself,” adds Maples.
“I didn’t choose the auto glass industry – it chose me, but I can say that it’s provided me with a good life. When I first took ownership of my business in 2007 I was very aware this was a male dominated business however that never played a role in how I ran my business,” says Sandra Smiley-Carrique, Smiley’s Glass owner.
Several things have changed in the industry, particularly the tools and innovation for technicians. Many agreed that having more advanced technology has helped both women and men repair and replace windshields.
“There are no barriers in the industry anymore, the tools available now are geared to help anyone lift a windshield, and there’s no reason why more women can’t calibrate front facing cameras. At last year’s Auto Glass WeekTM women were competing alongside men because we have the skills to do this,” says Maples.
At last year’s AGW Suzanne Allan became the first woman to win first place in the Windshield Repair Competition (WRO).
“There is no reason a woman can’t own an auto glass business. Installing is different now and certainly requires strength but if she has it go for it! I also think that most women are great at multi-tasking and that is a huge requirement,” says Smiley-Carrique.
“Our experiences may be different but women and men still crave jobs that both challenge and push our limitations. Being a woman in a male dominated industry allows me to bring my unique qualities and traits and create new opportunities for other women,” says EmilyAnne Thomason, franchise owner of Glass Doctor, a Neighborly Company (of Brevard County, Fla.).
Though times have changed, the industry can still be challenging – so having something to motivate you to continue moving forward is a must.
“I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who believe in you and in your abilities,” says Thomason.
“The reality is, there’s going to be people in the industry that’ll give you a hard time. My advice is to ignore the haters and do the best you can do for your customers, because no matter what you will prevail,” says Maples.