Lindsay Agor is the Women's Automotive Association International New Student Chapter President for the Northwood University
Midlands campus. Lindsay has always been around things automotive. Her
father, Warren, sells mobility products and aftermarket accessories. We
chatted with her about her new position with the WAAI and how it's
affecting her opinions about the automotive industry.
ASK PATTY: Tell us a little bit about what it is like to be the Women’s Automotive Association International (WAAI) New Student Chapter President for the Northwood Midland Campus.
Lindsay: Being the new student chapter president for the Northwood University Midland Campus can be a little hectic. Finding a time that is good for everyone to get together has been tough. Our girls are so active on the campus and in the community that it is hard to get our schedules to align. We have lots of great plans. Currently we are looking for mentors in the industry to help our girls become all that they can be. We are also working on getting Enidio Magel, from the Omega Institute, to come and speak about diversity on campus. We are hopping to get to go on some trips to women owned and operated dealerships in Michigan to gain some insight from the women who do daily what we hope to attain. Over all it is a very exciting position because I get to work with amazing girls who are incredibly excited about being a part of the automotive industry.
ASK PATTY: How did you become involved with the WAAI?
Lindsay: I became involved last December when Northwood was granted a chapter. I heard about it and knew that it was a group that I had to join. It can be difficult being a female automotive marketing student at Northwood. Typically in a thirty person classroom you may only have two or three females. This semester I am the only female in my automotive class. We need an organization where we all can get together and help each other develop the skills necessary to make it in a male dominated industry.
ASK PATTY: What do you see as the challenges for women working in the automotive industry?
Lindsay: In many dealerships there is still what I like to call the “boy’s locker room” mentality. It’s a frame of mind that women can not excel in an industry that is typically run by men. But women all over are doing it, sometimes better than the men. I think the greatest challenge for women in the automotive industry is facing those preconceptions when you encounter them and not letting other people define what you are capable of becoming.
ASK PATTY: Can you tell me a little bit about your history working with the automotive industry?
Lindsay: I grew up around my father’s shop where he sells mobility products and aftermarket accessories in Rochester, NY. When I was young my father built conversion vans. Early on he was approached by a handicapped man who needed adjustments done to his vehicle to make it possible for him to drive. Other people had told the man that they would not do it, but my father worked out a design and built this man the equipment that he needed. My father became known as the guy who would do what others wouldn’t. The conversion van business has long since died but my father is still selling mobility vehicles. It’s the mobility vehicles that pull us through the tough times when the aftermarket accessories are hard to sell.
Growing up I also spent some time in the local dealerships because the dealers were my father’s friends. When I am home on breaks I spend time at the Hoselton Auto Mall learning all that I can. This past summer I was fortunate to get an internship position at Hendrick Automotive Groups BMW store in Charlotte, NC. It was one of the best experiences of my life. It made me excited to be graduating in the spring so I could really get out into the industry.
ASK PATTY: What if any are the big changes you are seeing today in how vehicles are being marketed to women?
Lindsay: The manufacturers are thinking more about the women when they design the car. I did a case study for homework the other day where Volvo created the YCC concept car developed completely by women to address the needs of female buyers. They did it to show all their designers what women think of when they are buying a car and how easy it is to incorporate it into the design process.
ASK PATTY: Tell me about your most recent personal experience buying a vehicle. What vehicle did you buy, and why did you buy it?
Lindsay: My most recent experience buying a car for myself was a kind of covert action on behalf of my mother. Three years ago I was driving the Jeep of my dreams and spending lots of money on gas. With the threat of gas prices on the rise I mentioned to my mother that the summer looked like it was going to be an expensive one in my 18mpg Jeep. She asked me to go test drive a Jetta and see if I liked it. She made it seem like a fun Saturday afternoon activity. Plus, I always like test driving vehicles. Two weeks latter my father informed me that he had taken money out of my bank account, bought me a Jetta in dealer trade, and that my Jeep was now for sale. So I bought a Jetta because that’s what was bought on my behalf.
If I could buy a new vehicle right now it would be a Nissan Xterra because I think they are a good value for what they are. Being a college student and an active horse back rider I like to have vehicles that can carry large loads and tow. Plus I think they are fun.
ASK PATTY: What is one piece of good advice you would give women before they buy a new vehicle?
Lindsay: Know what your needs are and what you are looking for. Become an educated consumer by doing your research. Don’t be afraid of a salesperson but find a salesperson that you are comfortable with. Also the best price on a car comes from the sales manager; don’t be afraid of asking the salesperson to speak with their manager if you don’t feel that they are considering your needs. Someone in the dealership will always be able to help you find what you are looking for.