Arizona Woman Repairs Cars With a Conscience

September 17, 2010

In its list of five money-saving results of the recession, Bankrate's The 2010 Frugal Living Guide advises readers on “Finding Better Mechanics.” It's timely advice--but it's also timeless.

The guide says that the drop in consumer confidence has caused a new questioning of our old habits. The driver who would once accept a mechanic’s assessment of what ails his vehicle as gospel, is now apt to probe for evidence that the repair is essential to the vehicle’s safety or integrity. This leads to a search for a better mechanic who demonstrates expertise in the service of the owner’s specific make and model, which in turn develops into a client relationship with that technician, according to Ted Jenkin, a Certified Financial Planner from Alpharetta, Georgia.

Easier said than done, you say. AllCarAdvice's humble editor considered this in Car Repair Guys Can Be Good Guys Too, and told the story of Stephen Powell just to prove that there are individuals who are passionate about their craft.

If that’s not proof positive, consider Sarah “Bogi” Lateiner, who runs a shop in Phoenix, Arizona, and was featured in The Arizona Republic.

The child of hippies, she set out to change the world by way of the judicial system and studied pre law at Oberlin College in Ohio. She liked the school’s motto: “Think one person can change the world ? So do we.”

Something about fixing cars had a hold on her since she kept her 1974 Volkswagen Beetle on the road as a teenager in Montclair, New Jersey. Her free time as an undergraduate was filled with time working with victims of domestic violence and as a rape crisis counselor. The work took its toll by making her question her choice of vocation, and she turned back to auto repair. She enrolled in an auto technology school and completed BMW’s challenging technician’s program.

After a stint at a BMW dealership in New York, she opened her own shop in Arizona. But her success as an entrepreneur is only part of her story. She presents car maintenance classes for women, and with a friend, has started Local Meets Global, a worldwide non-profit effort to empower women in business by making micro-loans available.

So her college’s motto is still impacting her life. It's good advice: to find this kind of person to work on your car, just look for passionate people willing to help others.

[The Arizona Republic, Bankrate]

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