Woman shines at Chandler shop in male-dominated auto repair industry - East Valley Tribune: Business

Woman shines at Chandler shop in male-dominated auto repair industry

According to ASE, only 1 percent of all advisors and technicians are women, although stats show tide is shifting

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Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013 7:49 am | Updated: 7:40 am, Mon May 27, 2013.

When she was a child growing up in North Carolina, it was commonplace for Angie Krc to watch her father work on cars.

Even though her father tried to get Angie’s brothers interested in cars, in the end, it turned out to be his daughter that followed in his footsteps.

Working for Desert Car Care Centers for 8 years as a service advisor, Krc is further proof that the auto industry is hardly just for men anymore.

A single mother of three, Krc earned an associate degree in business management and served in the Air Force before becoming a service advisor.

Moving from North Carolina to Mesa nine years ago, Krc worked in daycare before a friend told her of a better paid job position at Desert Car Care Centers, an trio of auto repair shops in Gilbert and Chandler.

Despite her background growing up, it wasn’t long before Krc realized she needed better automotive knowledge to serve her customers better. She started asking for her fellow employees’ help — especially her boss, owner Frank Leutz.

Even though she received the support she needed, Krc still ran into opposition — mainly people who thought that women were not supposed to be involve in the auto industry.

“At first it hurt, because they didn’t know my abilities,” Krc said. “But then, I started thinking, why can’t I? Of course I can.”

Added Leutz: “She is very motivated to help people. ... All she needed was to see that the talent she had will become together with the talent she would have.”

After two years of working in the industry, Krc tested to become Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified. The process challenged her, but her driving force was to provide a better life for her children. Support from her coworkers — nearly all men — helped, too.

An auto service advisor is sort of the link between the customer and the technician. It is the advisor’s job to consult and explain to the customer what is wrong with their car and what needs to be done.

Even when she earned ASE certification, she still faced opposition from customers who think she’s not in an environment fit for women. Krc said proving to the customer that she knows her stuff is the best way to handle such a situation. And if a customer demands to speak with a technician, for instance, the technician asks Krc for her input in front of the customer.

“It is the gratification that I did it, but not necessarily to prove to people that believe in me that I did it,” Krc said.

Her father was proud of her when she became certified that he made her take photos of herself with the certificate to show everyone her accomplishment.

According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, even though the number of female service advisors and technicians has tripled in the last decade — it’s not uncommon to see female advisors manning the service drive at large-scale auto dealerships — the number of certified females remains at 1 percent. The report also shows that women do not consider the auto industry because society often still considers jobs to male-only.

But that’s changing, Krc notes. She said she’s knows of plenty Valley women who work in the auto industry. They inspire her, she says.

Leutz said that it’s Krc that’s the inspiration, adding that she’s the one that’s become an inspiration for other female employees within his company.

“If they can serve in the military, why shouldn’t they work in the auto industry,” Frank said.

Leutz said that even though the industry is still dominated by men, there are steps being taken to support women in the automotive field.

One step: Desert Car Care Centers often offer educational car clinics for the public to make to teach the basics of car care and at-home maintenance. Krc said that the classes are essential, especially to mothers who should all know how to check their oil or change a tire.

She said it is also important to have that car knowledge in order to be informed when they talk to an advisor technician.

“One of the things I don’t want is for one of my daughters to walk up to a technician and not know what’s going on,” she said.

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