Great Women In Automotive History
The Beginning Of Women In The Automotive History
Anne Rainsford French Bush
- January 1, 1900
- Anne Rainsford French Bush, apparently the first woman to receive a license to drive a car, obtained a “steam engineer’s license,” which entitled her to operate a “four-wheeled vehicle powered by steam or gas.”
- January 1, 1903
- Mary Anderson patented a window cleaning device, the predecessor of today’s windshield wipers.
Alice Huyler Ramsey
- January 1, 1909
- Alice Huyler Ramsey was the first woman to drive coast-to-coast, from New York to California. She also founded the Women’s Motoring Club.
Today’s Leading Women In The Automotive Industry
From these historic beginnings, women have slowly but continually gained recognition in the automotive industry’s primarily male-dominated field. Today, women hold many prestigious roles. From CEO Mary Barra of General Motors or Elizabeth Baron, a technical specialist at Ford, even hands-on positions like IndyCar mechanic Anna Chatten, no part is too big or off-limits.
For over 100 years, women have been involved in and contributed to the automotive industry. As we celebrate women’s history month, we wanted to share the stories of a few of the powerful women in our own aftermarket industry.
Kimberly Trainer – Owner – Car-Tunes, Inc. – Greenville, MS
Twenty years ago, Kimberly Trainer was looking for an investment. Having been a previous Car-Tunes, Inc. customer, she was in the store one day and mentioned to the owner that she was interested if he ever wanted to sell. A few weeks later, he called her and said that he was ready to talk about selling the store to her.
In 2001, at the age of 30 and a mother of three children, with no 12-volt experience, she purchased the store.
Kimberly told K40, “Most guys get into this industry because they’re into stereos and cars. I got into it strictly from a business aspect and then fell in love with it.”
Evolution of Car-Tunes, Inc.
Kimberly threw herself into learning everything about the business. From products and installation to all the back-end functions, she learned the trade. Kimberly says that she learned the most from her customers. By taking the time to listen to a customer’s wants and needs, she could fine-tune and grow the business. What started as strictly a car stereo shop utilizing only half of the available floor space is now a music lovers destination, offering solutions for boats, motorcycles, home theater, and even a musical instrument section. With a major renovation in 2018, Kimberly used all of her business and customer knowledge to redesign the store to be more open, inviting, and interactive.
Kimberly is proud of the evolution of Car-Tunes, Inc. She can’t imagine being in any other line of work. She considers interacting with her customers and listening to them to find solutions is the most rewarding thing she can do every day. “Customer service is the most important thing we offer,” said Kimberly. “Without our customers, there is no Car-Tunes, Inc.”
But Kimberly is most proud of her family. She raised her three children in the store, and today her son Dalton is not only the Head Technician, but he was also named one of Mobile Electronics Top 50 Installers in the nation in 2019 and one of the Top 12 Installers in 2020. Both of Kimberly’s daughters also play an active role in the business.
From a business investment decision in 2001, Kimberly Trainer has built a successful specialty shop that was named Mobile Electronics Retailer of the Year in 2020. She was the first woman owner to receive that award.
Annie Amen – Sounds Incredible Mobile – Brookfield, CT
Annie Amen was just 17 years old when her dad told her that she needed a job if she wanted to get her driver’s license.
She had a friend that worked at Sounds Incredible in the Home Theater division and told her about a job opening in the car audio division. It sounded like fun to her.
Annie started out working there after school, answering phones, cleaning, greeting customers, and scheduling appointments. As she worked, she learned. She listened to the guys in the shop as well as the salespeople talking to customers, customers asking questions, and read many industry publications, and manufacturer owner’s manuals. John, the manager at the time, was also very patient with Annie and her neverending questions. He was her most important teacher, and he eventually became her husband.
Annie began helping clients on the showroom floor, educating them and getting them excited about the store’s products and solutions. It turned out that not only was she excellent at it, but she also LOVED IT!
Sounds Incredible Mobile’s Beginnings
In 2007, Annie and John purchased the car audio business as partners, and Sounds Incredible Mobile was born. Annie handled all the business operations, sales, customer service, and John installed and fabricated solutions for their clients’ vehicles.
In the beginning, Annie struggled with credibility being a woman in the automotive field. However, her knowledge and customer service skills earned her the respect of both her customers and peers.
Annie started a well-respected website in 2010 called Car Stereo Chick and a YouTube channel in which she writes and talks about car stereo products, news, reviews, and trends. She has found that this is a great way to educate herself and her customers.
When you talk to Annie about her business, history, hardships, and successes, you discover a woman who is passionate about her business and one of the most knowledgeable and respected 12 Volt professionals in the industry. When asked what she is most proud of, she answered, “We’ve survived and thrived in some of the most difficult times to operate a business. Being a small business owner is incredibly challenging, and I would say I’m proud of the fantastic reputation we’ve built up and that we’re doing well and still going strong after all these years.”
Proud To Be A Part Of A Sisterhood Of Women In The Automotive Industry
Also, a woman-owned business, K40 Electronics is incredibly proud to partner with these two women. They bring so much to our industry. Not only are they making history, but they are also changing the future.
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