Salas graduated from Contra Costa College's Automotive Collision Repair Technology Department in 2010 and was named the school's dean in 2016. Her full title is Collision Repair Faculty and Automotive Department Chair, a position her predecessor Peter Lock held for 36 years.
CREF Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode enjoys SEMA for many reasons, and giving tech schools money to improve their departments is one. “Our Benchmark Grant Program (formerly the Ultimate Makeover Grant) has been in existence for ten years,” he said. “We get a ton of applications every year and we spend a lot of time reviewing them all before we pick our recipients. In some cases, the money is designated for a specific purpose, like buying computers, equipment or improving their facilities.”
Girl Gang Garage Builds provide professional development for women in the trades, additional learning opportunities for newbies, and a consistent cadence of builds, according to their website.
At one point in her career, Lateiner was an outsider to the automotive industry, but today she is well-known as an advocate for young women entering the industry. After attending Universal Technical Institute, Lateiner went on to BMW factory training through the BMW STEP program and worked as a dealer technician for seven years. She then opened 180 Degrees Automotive in her driveway in 2006 and embarked on her mission of encouraging women, providing learning opportunities, and fostering connections between women of all ages and skill levels within the industry, she explained.
Today, Lateiner’s shop is called Bogi’s, where she is able to continue on her journey to help women in the industry. “The goal is to provide an environment where newbies and experts can come together, commiserate, contrast, and collaborate in the real world, hands-on learning opportunities,” she said.
In addition, Lateiner hosts the Automotive TV show “All Girls Garage,” is an industry spokesperson, teaches women’s car care classes, and performs shop evaluations for independent repair shops across the country.