Women in Auto: Wayne Automotive Program

Elizabeth Califf, Auto Feature Writer

Earlier this December, the   piloted an event called Women in Auto. This event was run at Wayne Hills, in the morning of December 5th. It was a collaborative effort between Hills and Valley.  About twenty girls from Wayne Valley attended, far more boys and girls participated from Hills. The automotive industry is largely male-dominated, which translates to the disparity between males and females enrolled in the auto classes in our own district. Mr. Bergen and Mr. Hopper, the auto teachers, are seeking to change that and their first step was this event. Women in Auto’s goal was to interest more female

s in the field by showing the benefits and opportunities in the automotive industry.

Run seminar style, a panel of speakers took turns elaborating on their jobs and personal journeys that led them to the auto industry. Most of these speakers were women who shared their experiences as a way to show students the wide variety of career opportunities that were open to them because they had auto experiences. A young alumna of Wayne Hills, Tina Lynch, went to Lincoln Tech and soon thereafter joined the workforce. She worked for an Acura dealership and landed a job as a technician, subsequently discovering she was the first female technician to work there within the 38 years it had been open. Lynch addressed the everyday sexism she faced in the workplace and gave advice regarding it, telling us that we are our own future and that women shouldn’t allow derogatory comments control them. Life lessons such as this were prevalent throughout the presentation.  

A contrast to Lynch in experience and age is Bonnie Maura Dwyer, who opened Greg and Sons Auto Service with her husband in 1978. The business is located here in Wayne, on Mountain View Boulevard. Her husband and one of her sons work as technicians in the

shop, while Dwyer covers the business aspect. She takes care of finance, management, and directly deals with customers. Dwyer stressed the importance of kindness and communication skills in the workplace, noting that those who she had seen be successful generally had these two attributes.

While small businesses play a role in the automotive industry, larger corporations fuel the world. A company that does exactly that, Castrol, happens to have a technology center in Wayne. Castrol develops and produces a wide array of motor oil and lubricants. They partner with brands and fuel their cars. Castrol is a sponsor of the NFL and has been involved with the promotion of the Fast and the Furious franchise. On a local level, Castrol often supports the Wayne auto program. For Women in Auto, they brought a few female professionals to the event to speak about their careers. One of these women was Lucy Kreismer. Kreismer grew up and went to school in Columbia, where she began to pursue her interest in cars. To the dismay of her disapproving guidance counselor, she took metal shop and auto shop in high school. After graduating she went to work in a dealership, doing repairs. She rose in rank until she was the director. At that point, she decided she wanted to get a masters degree in insurance, and subsequently moved to America. Now, she works as a Finance Team Assistant for Castrol. Kreismer was told she would not succeed because she was a woman and an immigrant, and for that, her success story is one of resilience.

Overall, Women in Auto was a worthwhile event with a few key takeaways. It showcased various aspects of the automotive industry. Furthermore, it encouraged women to pursue their passion, however unconventional it may be.