Ladies Guide Maaco With Excellent Technical Skills, Strategic Leadership

Ladies Guide Maaco With Excellent Technical Skills, Strategic Leadership

The women of Maaco are painting vehicles, repairing dings and dents, restoring finishes, managing customer service and leading local businesses.

With International Women’s Day on March 8, Maaco is celebrating the women on the front lines of its collision repair facilities who are putting drivers back on the road in expertly repaired, repainted and refurbished vehicles.

Across the country, the women of Maaco who are painting vehicles, repairing dings and dents, restoring finishes, managing customer service and leading the local businesses take pride in the work they do and their role in building the collision repair industry for future generations.

Fulfilling a Legacy in the Collision Repair Industry

Katie Inge, owner of Maaco Chesapeake in Virginia, learned the craft at her father’s side, then became his business partner to run their Maaco location and today is a leading entrepreneur in the Maaco family.

“I was extremely lucky to grow up in the industry,” said Inge. “At a very young age, any opportunity I got, I would go to the shop with my dad. I would sit on a ladder outside the paint booth and watch him paint cars for hours and hours. I was so mesmerized by it. I thought that was the coolest thing ever, and I knew I wanted to learn every aspect of the industry. Then when I was a junior in high school, I enrolled in the work program and started working at the shop immediately and have been here ever since. In 2011, I became partners with my dad; it has been the best decision I have ever made. Even with the everyday challenges I still love what I do!”

Emily Flowers, who works at Inge’s Maaco location in Virginia, grew up in the industry too and used to go to work with her father.

“He taught me an awesome trade for which I am very thankful for, ” said Flowers. “I love the atmosphere here! Compared to other shops I have worked at, we have a great team and positive working environment. I love painting cars, and this makes it so much better to be a part of a great team.”

For Heather Ward, general manager at Maaco Fresno, racing cars and repairing them bring the same fulfillment.

“I have always loved cars, from working on them to even racing them,” said Ward. “I started off at Maaco as an office assistant and quickly progressed to estimator, then general manager. My favorite part about working at this facility is no two days are the same. I enjoy working with retail customers and seeing the smile on their faces when we exceed their expectations. “    

Technical Skills Put the Maaco Ladies at the Front of the Class

Lani Syring of Maaco of Phoenix, part of the Freedom Brands, LLC, puts her education to work every day.

“I attended school in Houston, Texas, specializing in collision repair and refinishing,” said Syring. “I hold certifications from both I-CAR and ASE in this area of expertise. The aspect of my job I enjoy most about working at this shop is the opportunity to engage with customers, fulfilling their needs while also minimizing repair costs. I’ve built a base of loyal customers who consistently return for their repair needs.”

Syring said having more women in any industry brings a range of benefits for customers, team members and the industry overall, including:

  • Diversity of perspectives: Women often bring different viewpoints and experiences to the table, enhancing problem-solving, creativity and innovation within the industry.
  • Improved workplace culture: Increased gender diversity fosters a more inclusive and welcoming work environment, leading to higher morale, better teamwork and reduced turnover rates.
  • Expanded talent pool: By tapping into a broader talent pool, companies can access a diverse range of skills, knowledge and abilities, helping them stay competitive and adaptable in a rapidly changing market.
  • Enhanced customer relations: With more women in the industry, businesses can better connect with diverse customer demographics, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Addressing skills gaps: Encouraging women to enter traditionally male-dominated industries helps address skill shortages and labor gaps, contributing to a more sustainable and robust workforce.
  • Economic growth: Gender diversity in the workforce has been linked to higher productivity and economic growth, as it allows societies to fully utilize their human capital and unlock new opportunities for innovation and development.

“Overall, promoting gender diversity in the industry not only benefits individual companies but also contributes to broader societal progress and prosperity,” she added.

Hands-on Work Builds Respect, Confidence

The women of Maaco prove their mettle daily, showing how their technical expertise delivers great results for customers.

“I will get down and dirty by working right next to my male counterparts,” said Inge. “I would never ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do, and this builds respect with them. No matter what it is, I am always determined to find the answer and continue to learn new ways of doing something so that I can teach and pass on.”  

“Being a female painter means you have to get creative when it comes to painting, especially when I’m 5-foot-3,” said Flowers. “At times, it can be difficult to reach the center of a hood or large panels compared to the average height of men. Luckily, we have scissor lifts and custom parts stands to make my job easier. No matter what it is, I’m determined and will make sure its painted one way or another!”

Collision Repair Industry Offers Great Opportunities for Women

“There are so many benefits of the collision repair industry for women,” said Inge. “I think the biggest is women are very welcoming and create a strong trust with customers, especially female customers. From the customer experience perspective, a lot of times women do their research before going to places, and when they encounter another woman in the shop, this makes them feel a lot more comfortable doing business there.”

Karina Melendez took her 2016 Honda Civic in for an estimate six years ago and has been a team member at Maaco of Van Nuys ever since.

“Women are more understanding and have a greater attention to detail,” said Melendez. “Having more woman in the industry would make female customers feel more comfortable knowing that they will not be taken advantage of because they are a woman.”

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