Amy Mattinat: Woman of Auto Care
Words: Karen Sullivan
Cars have always been in Amy Mattinat’s life. Growing up in northeast Ohio she says, “I feel as if I have motor oil in my blood.” I think she might be right.
However, her original career choice was not in the automotive industry. You might ask why she is in this magazine, but I think a lot of ladies can relate that the automotive industry was not their original destination, myself included. In Amy’s case, she always loved cars growing up, hanging out with her high school boyfriend at the redneck races out in Ohio. She decided on a more traditional route for ladies you could say, by going to school for Hotel/Restaurant Management in New England. This led her to working in kitchens and having cooking become a passion. She even went so far as to open her own catering business.
While her degree might not be in automotive, she did keep one foot in the industry by marrying a mechanic (are you seeing a trend because I am). While they were married, the two of them opened a small repair shop. The best thing about the repair shop, it was out of the attached barn to their apartment….I think that fits some individuals’ dream homes, big garage, enough for all the toys and to work on them, and just enough space to live comfortably.
Unfortunately, Amy’s marriage to her first husband did not last. On the bright side, the knowledge she had gained from helping run the shop would take her to new places in the future. Remarrying in the early ‘90s, she kept on with her catering business and family life. Tragedy struck however when her husband became poisoned at work and the resulting effects made it so he could no longer work. With the catering business being inconsistent Amy made the decision to close her shop and return to the automotive industry.
From this point on, the world of automobiles became Amy’s life.
In the mid 90’s she began working for Auto Craftsmen, an independent auto repair shop in Montpelier, Vermont. She was their bookkeeper. A few years after starting she was running the front desk as well. While she was working for Auto Craftsmen she took multiple classes, some for automotive business, and others for marketing. One of her great accomplishments was in 2009 buying out Auto Craftsmen and becoming the sole owner.
From then on she has steadily become a fixture in the automotive industry. Amy has taught about car care through tv, radio, and writing. She even wrote a book titled, How to Buy a Great Used Car. She has garnered multiple awards throughout her career and was the elected President of the Women’s Board in the Car Care Council and has since passed the torch to the next President.
Amy is a shining example of how your initial career choice can change and how you can move into the automotive industry late in the game. All you need is the desire and drive to work and willingness to learn. Thankfully Amy has been able to contribute back by engaging in national automotive groups and mentoring other women who want to enter the industry.
For the Ladies -
Amy is one who has a hand in a little bit of everything but is willing to give a helping hand whenever possible. For ladies who are looking to get into the industry or are already a part of it, Amy says you do not necessarily have to re-invent the wheel. A lady has probably done it already, the key word here is probably though. Find automotive women who are successful at what you want to do or are currently doing. The majority of them would love to help you, guide you, and see you succeed. Do you know the best part of this? You won’t necessarily make the same mistakes your mentor did to get to where they are today.
Ladies who want to become involved in the automotive industry find it hard, daunting, and imitating at times. Some resources supplied by Amy are below:
The Car Care Council Women’s Board which is a great resource for the ladies in the automotive aftermarket industry.
The SEMA Business Women’s Network is another great resource. It’s for women in the specialty equipment side of the industry.
There is also WIN: Women’s Industry Network. This is for women in the collision repair side of the industry.