NORCROSS, GA — Akzo Nobel took time last month to honor five exceptional women from the collision repair industry. The five women were recognized as the 2003 Most Influential Women in the Collision Repair Industry, an award Akzo Nobel has been presenting for five years.
The 2003 Most Influential Women are as follows: Bertha Bertrand, co-manager, Brian Cullen Body Shop, St. Catharines, Ontario; Teresa Bolton, collision repair/refinishing specialist, ASE, Leesburg, Va.; Georgina Carson, editor, BodyShop Business magazine, Akron, Ohio; Karen Fierst, president, KerenOr Consultants, Silver Spring, Md.; and Eileen Haberman, vice president and co-owner, Glen’s Auto Body, Waukesha, Wis.
This year’s event was held at The Citrus Club in Orlando, Fla. More than 80 guests gathered to honor the 2003 recipients as well as winners from the past four years.
The five women were recognized not only for their contributions to the collision repair industry, but also for making a difference in the communities in which they live.
Bertrand implemented systems that led to one of the highest ratings in the Acoat selected Process Assessment. She also helped develop a well-received Brian Cullen Car Care Clinic to educate new car owners about their vehicle. She is an active participant and leader in local collision repair organizations, including I-CAR, Collision Industry Association Group, Hamilton Autobody Repair Association and the Niagara College Motive Power Advisory Board.
Bolton is a big believer in ongoing training and certification. She is a Collision Repair/Refinishing Specialist for the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence. Bolton works closely in curriculum development, testing and certification. She also works with the I-CAR Tech Center and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation in the development of testing materials. Currently, she serves as co-chair of the education committee for The Collision Industry Conference and is a National Auto Body Council board member. She has served as regional director and part-time instructor for the Collision Technician Apprentice Program. Bolton is also actively involved with SkillsUSA and Maryland State SkillsUSA, a national organization that works with high school and college students enrolled in training programs.
As the editor of BodyShop Business magazine, Carson has her finger on the pulse of the collision repair industry. With humor and tons of energy, she ensures each issue is a blend of news, entertainment and education. Carson came to the magazine in 1994 after working for the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland magazine. A graduate of Kent State University, she has interviewed celebrities ranging from Drew Carey to Zsa Zsa Gabor. During her years at BodyShop Business, she’s had the opportunity to visit with numerous collision repair shops and enjoys making a difference in the industry.
Active in the collision repair industry for more than a decade, Fierst became a student of all facets of the industry before establishing KerenOr Consultants in 1998. She was an executive of the Certified Automotive Parts Association and, in 1999, had the honor of working with the Taiwan Autobody Parts association to help those manufacturers understand the complexities of our marketplace. Fierst selected the name for her company based on her own name. In Hebrew “Keren” means “a ray of sunlight” and her company focuses on shedding light on the collision repair industry. Recently, she was a featured speaker for the Aftermarket Automotive Industry Association’s 2001 Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C., and speaks regularly on automotive issues for a variety of publications. She has served as secretary of the National Auto Body Council’s Board of Directors and co-chaired its national Habitat for Humanity initiative. Fierst also serves as the co-chair of the Collision Industry Conference’s Industry Decisions Committee.
Since 1970, Haberman has worked alongside her husband, Glen, in building the couple’s one-person shop to a 12-employee business with $1 million in annual sales. I-CAR Gold and Acoat selected designations echo the shop’s commitment to excellence across the board. Along with her husband, she is extremely active in the Wisconsin Auto Collision Technician’s Association by promoting the value of training and education. She is also active in the National Auto Body Council.
“They’re gifted, talented businesswomen who fortunately have landed in our industry,” said Jim Rees, director of sales for Akzo Nobel. “We should all count ourselves extremely lucky to have people of this caliber challenging us all to strive to make a difference on and off the job every day.”
Janet Guthrie, the first woman to race in the Indianapolis 500, was the keynote speaker at the award ceremony. Her address centered on how perseverance and determination are key to attaining any goal in life, not just for women but for those striving for success.
To further honor the award recipients for 2003, a donation was made by Akzo Nobel to be administered by the I-CAR Educational Foundation to further the training of those in the collision repair industry.
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