Opportunities for Women in Automotive Industry – Interview With Tony Molla

Tony Molla is the Vice President of Communications for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in Leesburg, VA. With over 35 years experience in the automotive service industry, Tony has held positions at all levels, including technician, service manager, parts store manager, new car sales and automotive technical editor writing service manuals for the Chilton Book Company. He has authored more than a dozen technical and car care manuals. Prior to joining ASE in January, 2000, Tony spent nine years as the Editorial Director of Motor Age magazine and Automotive Body Repair News (ABRN).

ASK PATTY: Can you tell us a little bit about your job and your position at The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)?

Tony: I am responsible for all Corporate, external and internal communications at ASE. This includes things like press releases, industry presentations, trade shows and our website content. I also manage our Consumer Outreach efforts, which include free articles sent out to consumer publications like newspapers and magazines across the country. I also manage our outreach programs which involve our sponsorships in several areas. The largest is our participation in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where we sponsor Ted Musgrave’s No. 9 Team ASE/Germain Racing Toyota Tundra. We also have smaller sponsorships with the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, with a presence at air shows across the country, and a sponsorship of three Professional Bull Riders in the PBR Series. We also have a grassroots racing program called Team ASE which involves our ASE certified professionals who race their own vehicles. I am also the publisher of the ASE Tech News, our Corporate publication which goes to over 500,000 subscribers consisting mostly of ASE certified professionals and our industry supporters.

ASK PATTY: What does it mean to be ASE certified?

Tony: ASE Certification works like any other professional certification. Auto and truck professionals must take and pass an industry-developed competency test in one or more areas of expertise to become certified. There are eight tests in the auto series, for example. If an individual passes all tests in a series, they achieve Master Technician status. Being ASE certified means you have demonstrated the knowledge necessary to be proficient at a given task, plus have at least two years of hands-on repair experience. ASE also certifies parts professionals, service consultants, machinists, alternate fuels technicians, transit bus technicians, truck and collision technicians. It’s important to note that ASE certification is a voluntary program, so the individuals who have achieved it have also demonstrated a pride and professionalism that goes above and beyond the norm. These are the individuals you want working on your car.

ASK PATTY: Why are you promoting automotive careers to women? Are more women needed in the automotive field?

Tony: ASE has continuously promoted the value of an automotive career to both men and women, but the demand for women in particular has risen in recent years. This rise in demand has several reasons, not the least of which is the growing shortfall in qualified technical individuals available, but women have been proven to be particularly effective in the role of service consultant. As more and more women assume the role of primary caretaker of the family automobile, it’s becoming more important to improve the communications process at the service desk–and it’s been shown that female service consultants are very effective in that role. It’s also important to note that traditionally, women have made up about one percent of the technician workforce as well. In fact, there are a few shops out there that are exclusively staffed by women.

ASK PATTY: Can you tell us about your speaking program at schools? How are you educating and inspiring young women to consider a career in automotive?

Tony: I participate as a speaker in several Career Day events around the country each year. It’s really more a question of being invited back rather than a formal program by ASE. That said, I consider my time in front of young people some of the most important work I do. I speak with kids from the elementary to the high school level and always make it a point to spotlight the opportunities for women within the industry. Some of the best automotive diagnosticians I’ve met have been women, and the opportunities for a woman with a good technical background in the automotive industry is outstanding. These presentations I mention also use some brochures ASE has developed which outline some of the opporutnities within the industry for both male and female candidates.

ASK PATTY: Are women aware of the opportunities available to them in the automotive industry?

Tony: Actually, I’m continuously surprised at just how few women and men are aware of the wealth of opportunities available. We in the industry work hard to keep both Guidance Counselors and parents informed of what a great career choice it can be, but it’s clear we have some work yet to do to get the message out more widely.

ASK PATTY: What other types of jobs are available in automotive that aren’t service or mechanic’s jobs?

Tony: The possibilities are almost limitless. What I find interesting is how a technical background can open doors down the road in ways most never even imagine. I myself started out as an auto technician and worked part time while I went to college. Once I graduated, I found the earning potential much better in the service bay. In fact, it was largely my technical background, along with a degree in Journalism, that led to my current position. Along the way, I’ve held positions writing service manuals and as Editorial Director of two national trade magazines for auto and collision shops. But I’m just one example. There are opportunities in the automotive industry in sales, marketing, engineering, design, manufacturing, human resources, advertising, the list goes on and on. If you think about it, the automotive industry is a lot more than just selling and fixing cars.

ASK PATTY: What are some resources to women who are interested in starting a career in the automotive industry?

Tony: Perhaps the best resource is your local Technical Training program at either high school or junior college level. Getting involved in the automotive program can provide a deeper insight into the possibilities. There are also several initiatives within the automotive industry to recruit young people into the business. You can find out more by contacting the University of the Aftermarket, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, or some of the dedicated technical colleges like Universal Technical Institute or Wyo Tech, just to name a few. You can also contact us here at ASE with any questions. We’ll be happy to help in any way we can.

Thank you for the great interview Tony!

Autocar India – The Leading Automotive News Magazine in the Country

Autocar is clearly the established world leader when it comes to automotive news media. With a history of over 100 years, it easily bears the legacy of the world’s oldest automobile magazine. Autocar was first introduced in 1895, as a weekly British automobile magazine published by Haymarket Motoring Publications Ltd. Today, along with the UK, there are other editions including India, China and South Africa.

Launched in September 1999, Autocar India is the country’s leading authority for motorbike and car owners; always seeking to be a forerunner. The magazine is known for pioneering road testing in India, and is the last word on new cars and bikes because of its authentic road test verdicts. It was also the first magazine to explore the Tata Nano, and showcase its interiors. Other magazines are envious of its reputation for exemplary editorial content, as well as high production standards with the magazine receiving accolades from both the industry and consumers alike.

The Autocar India editorial team ranks among the most experienced editorial teams in India, producing daily news and reviews on the latest cars and motorbikes. Hormazd Sorabjee is the Editor, with an experience of over 25 years in writing about cars; from a 65-ton battle tank to a Formula 1 car, he has driven it all. Shapur Kotwal is Deputy Editor and a part of each of the magazine’s extensive road testing activities. He also supervises test instrumentation, data acquisition and has commanded the most experience as a road tester in India. Akbar Merchant leads the staff writers, who cover all the latest scoops, launches, developments, and breaking news in the Indian automotive industry.

Autocar India’s monthly content includes exclusive news, features, and fascinating automobile stories. The magazine was the first to pioneer the concept of advertorials in India. Incidentally, it contains the largest and liveliest classified services section among any other monthly automobile magazine.

Autocar India promises to- “Get you the perfect fix of heady automobiles and dish out thorough reviews of the latest cars and bikes on Indian streets.” The world of cars is exciting to so many of us and Autocar brings alive its piquant stories and engaging features; making it the must-read magazine for everyone interested in cars.

Autocar India has always remained true to its heritage with its exhaustive and authoritative road tests. The best in the business, they have grown from being just a car magazine to becoming the expert on any car brand. The magazine boasts of a readership of more than twice the readership available for the closest rival, making it, by far, India’s best-selling car magazine. But more than the numbers, it is the content that makes it India’s best car magazine.

Autocar is known for being the only magazine to provide content towards leading dailies like The Telegraph, The Hindu, The Hindustan Times and more. Editor Hormazd Sorabjee also hosts the popular show on UTVi on cars and bikes.

According to a report, the Indian vehicle manufacturing industry has increased its growth by 13% over 10 years now, and contributes 6% to India’s GDP. Autocar India had joined hands with Bloomberg TV to present the awards praising the role of the automotive industry for increasing the growth rate of the Indian economy. Awards include: Renault Duster for “Car of the Year (Jury’s Choice)”, “Viewer’s Choice Car of the Year”, and “SUV of the Year”. Mahindra and Mahindra won the ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ award. “Bajaj KTM 200 Duke” won “Bike of the Year (Jury’s Choice)” and “Viewer’s Choice Bike of the Year” awards.

With India being the third largest internet user in the world, there is little doubt that at least a quarter of them will be hooked onto digital reading, which gives them access to an Autocar India digital subscription. Going by the population of the world and the number of internet users, there is no doubt that digital magazines are the future. Also with the access to mobiles and tablets that can be used as readers, the development of apps for publishing and reading has taken the market by storm; to announce that the future is here! Publishers that have made the switch have already realized the benefits and profits.

Autocar being the oldest automobile magazine has also been the first to switch to the digital version of the magazine. With an Autocar e-magazine you can do much more than you would with a paper magazine. As the magazine is always in the cloud, you can access it at any point in time from practically anywhere; get interactive content on the go and within the app too. Consumers who are unable to carry their favorite magazines around during travel can switch to the digital format of the magazine with ease.