News, views & analysis blogs by: Josette Robinson


Josette Robinson :
Women Take Control of the Wheel for Prime Careers in Auto Services Field -- Chapman BMW´s Master Technician Ingrid Dobson Paving the Road


Josette Robinson :
Ingrid Dobson is a BMW master technician at Chapman BMW in Scottsdale, AZ. After years of intensive training, she is the first woman in the industry to win Master Top Honors in the ACT (Association of Certified Technicians) Challenge, a series of written tests that measure a technician´s knowledge and skill. Beyond that, Dobson is leading the way in breaking down stereotypes and barriers for women interested in pursing careers in automotive services.

Named technician of the Year for 2005 at Chapman, Dobson is becoming a well-recognized name in the auto service industry. Despite her numerous accolades, however, she remains very humble, and credits her hard work and humility as qualities that won over her male counterparts. "Once they see how hard you work, that you enjoy doing what you do and are not trying to make a point, they are fine."

Dobson has shown tremendous growth as a BMW technician. From her training as part of the STEP program (Service Technician Education Program) for new technicians to taking advantage of the numerous opportunities and continuing education BMW provides for their technicians at the national level and at individual dealerships, Dobson has climbed the ranks. It is her ambition and tenacity that propelled her to the level of mastery she has attained thus far in her career.

As a six-year employee at Chapman, Dobson has a superior work ethic - a characteristic synonymous with the qualities of the BMW brand, according to her service manager, Garrett O´Dell: "Ingrid is one of the best in terms of skills such as productivity and efficiency, as well as unmeasurables like her passion for what she does." He adds that she is a good example of what can be accomplished if someone - man or woman - is serious about an auto service career, but stresses that Dobson?´s success is especially notable because of the slanted playing field.

Dobson at times seems too humble, not realizing that her accomplishment is a big deal, but her passion is pure: "I enjoy the manual labor aspect of being a tech, but I especially love when I´m faced with a thought-provoking problem that I need to solve. There´s nothing like seeing a car drive off like brand new after you´ve fixed it, she says."

Her advice to women aspiring to be auto technicians is simple "try to learn as much as possible while gaining hands-on experience. She warns them not to get discouraged. "Gender doesn´t matter as long as you prove you can overcome challenges."

Opportunities in the field are plentiful; according to the U.S. Department of Labor´s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 35,000 new automotive service jobs come on line each year. A 2004 study by the Women´s Bureau of the DOL shows that approximately 12,000 women are working as automotive service technicians; they make up just 1.3 percent of 936,000 in the automotive service field.

The monetary reward is very impressive with the average salary for BMW STEP technicians with some experience at about $55,000. With further accreditation, they can earn more than six figures in some major markets.

Dobson plans on continuing to participate in contests like the ACT challenge and continue to excel in her field with no speed restrictions.

For more information, contact Josette Robinson at 212.279.3115 ext. 212,

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