Wisconsin Girl Shows She's Better Than the Boys at SkillsUSA Competition - BodyShop Business
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Wisconsin Girl Shows She’s Better Than the Boys at SkillsUSA Competition

Liz Moore got into collision at 17 years old…but it wasn’t the kind of collision she’s now studying at the Universal Technical Institute (UTI). More like “collisions” – the crash-em-up type that occur in demolition derbies.


Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

moore and her instructor, jay abitz, at the 2011 skillsusa competition held in kansas city, mo.moore and her freedom high school classmates show off some of their work.moore competing at the 2012 skillsusa competition.Liz Moore got into collision at 17 years old…but it wasn’t the kind of collision she’s now studying at the Universal Technical Institute (UTI). More like “collisions” – the crash-em-up type that occur in demolition derbies.

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She had been helping out her three brothers with their own demolition derby careers since she was 10, which first whetted her appetite for cars. Seven years later, she figured it was her turn to get behind the wheel. Though she never got hurt physically, there were some emotional wounds inflicted.

“We tried teaming up with people, but I didn’t know a whole lot of them,” Moore says. “They pointed at me and made fun of me.”

But Moore was used to adversity at that point. When she started taking an auto body class at Freedom High School in Freedom, Wisc., the boys told her she was just doing it because it was an easy class. But they became awfully quiet once she qualified for the state SkillsUSA competition in 2011 and became the first female state champion in Wisconsin history after finishing first in collision. The first-place finish also netted her a $10,000 scholarship to UTI.


Her performance at state earned her a trip to the national SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City, where she finished 10th in collision among more than 40 competitors – all of whom were male. Her score beat all other females in the secondary and post-secondary levels of collision repair, earning her recognition from the Women’s Industry Network, an association whose goal is to enhance the collision repair industry – and the role of women within
it – through education, networking and sharing of resources.

“It was pretty stressful because a lot of people were watching and we were on camera,” said Moore. “But my parents came with me to watch, which was nice.”


After moving to Houston to attend UTI, Moore got much the same treatment from her classmates there that she did while at Freedom High. She said the boys picked on her and told her she didn’t know what she was doing.
“But I proved them wrong,” says Moore. “When people underestimate me, I’m going to show them what I have and not let them stomp on me.”

Plus, she got the last laugh considering that 56 percent of her tuition is paid for. There’s the $10,000 scholarship she earned by placing first in her state competition, a $1,000 Imagine America scholarship and $5,000 in grants. To pay the rent, she works as a waitress, preferring, she says, not to rush into auto body just yet because she’s still undecided as to what specific job she wants to perform in the field.


Her advice to other females looking to make a career out of collision repair?

“Don’t let the guys tell you you’re incapable of doing what you want to do. You will seem like the oddball out, but I think girls are more technical and care more about their work and are better at it than men if they really try."

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