Camille Eber’s parents purchased a collision repair center in 1963, and by the time she was finishing her collegiate studies in accounting and business management in 1986, she was ready to join the family business. But she had to persuade her parents that she could bring enough value to the business to pay her salary and started out doing everything from sweeping to bookkeeping.
Today, Eber is the owner-operator of Fix Auto Portland East, Fix Auto Gladstone and Fix Auto Clackamas, all in the Portland area. Fix Auto USA is proud to celebrate this female owner as it wraps Women’s History Month this March.
“My favorite part of working in this industry is when the customer is thrilled with the outcome of their vehicle repair and experience, then takes the time to let us know and shares their experience with their family and friends,” said Eber. “This is what fuels what I do personally and what we do as a company. When you and your team repeatedly earn this feedback, and you have solid business volume, then you see your reward in the bottom line.”
Eber took the reins of the family business a bit earlier than planned after her mother passed away unexpectedly and her father struggled after she passed.
“They were partners in life as well as business,” said Eber. “Dad decided to sell me the business and retire, and in 1989, I became the owner-operator. He didn’t offer much opinion about my decision to have a career in collision repair, which is unusual because he had strong opinions. But he, like most men I’ve worked with over the years, has been supportive.
“I’ve interacted with substantially more men than women in my career. I’ve maintained a professional demeanor and positive approach whether customer, vendor or insurer. I found that often it was the men in my grandfather’s age bracket who would think what I was doing was cool because they had granddaughters and they wanted them to have access to any opportunity possible.”
That family business experience with her mother and father paid dividends and impacts how Eber runs the business today.
“I’ve learned through years of observation and experience to be conscientious, and that has served me well,” she said. “This helps me be more thorough, careful and vigilant. The industry will benefit from having more women involved because of this high level of conscientiousness, all qualities needed in almost every area of repairing collision-damaged vehicles.”
Eber said she works to create a family environment and be supportive of the women in the workplace and of people in general.
“Many women bring a high level of awareness of what is going on in their surroundings, a type of vigilance per se, and this is good in the fast-paced and process-driven work we do,” she said. “I also want to give a shout-out to most men I’ve met in the industry as they are supportive of women in it, too.”
Some 30-plus years since she took the reins, Eber has lived up to the standards set by her parents and built a business of which they could be proud — certainly a family tradition worth celebrating.