Meet Amelia Lusher. She’s working full-time this summer at Centerline CARSTAR Collision in Strongsville, Ohio, mixing paint and sanding the occasional fender or bumper. She’s 17 years old and a student at the Medina County Career Center. And she loves working in the auto body industry.
She talked excitedly with me about a recent challenge of matching the orange color on a Dodge Challenger.
“Some of the vibrant colors are difficult to mix because if you mix it wrong by the smallest drop, it will show immediately,” says Lusher.
When Lusher was young, she painted model cars. She really liked drawing but got waitlisted at the career center for that program, so she decided to try auto collision because it involved both art and cars. She was also influenced by her late grandfather, who worked for GM, and her dad, who worked on cars and took her to car shows.
Being a female in a male-dominated industry hasn’t bothered Lusher one bit.
“I haven’t had any issues working with anyone,” she says. “A lot of girls want to experience this industry and think it’s cool, but they’re scared. I say go out and try it and if you don’t like it, then fine. You never know, it could go great.”
As to her peers’ highly publicized lack of interest in the trades, Lusher says she feels a lot of them want to do hands-on work but aren’t quite prepared for what it is.
“It’s hard work, and you’re going to do it for eight hours, and you have to get used to it. I don’t think people are ready to accept that and back down from pressure. Or, they can’t break bad habits like not showing up on time or not listening.”
With Lusher’s attitude toward her job, she offers hope for this industry in the future.