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General Parts Celebrates Women’s History Month

Women's History Month poster

By Stephanie Lantz – Service Dispatcher – Third Party

In March 1980 President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation that the week of the March 8th would be celebrated as National Women’s Week, and since that time this event has grown in popularity, which in 1987 resulted in Congress passing a further proclamation to expand the event into a full month of celebrations. In honor of that celebration, we wanted to highlight the role women are playing in the Foodservice Equipment Repair industry at General Parts Group.

Women in the Foodservice Equipment Repair Industry

Before we jump into the specifics of our industry, it is important to pay respect to the wider foodservice industry, which undoubtedly is one of the best industries for reflecting the entire communities in which they serve. Women have always worked in food service and have played a significant role in shaping the industry into what it is today. In 2019 Forbes reported that 52% of restaurant employees are female, which is an eye-catching number, however, only 21% are holding c-suite positions, which absolutely demonstrates why there is a continuing need to celebrate the role of women.

When we turn to our own industry, and specifically General Parts Group, we see a different picture. What is encouraging is that women in General Parts work with every department of the company and are especially well represented in management positions, in fact, 32% of all managers are currently women.  What is less positive, is that we currently have no women service technicians, which is what drives the overall percentage of women who work for General Parts to 23%. There have been highly skilled women technicians at the company in the past, but they remain very scarce, which is something that our industry would like to address.  Perhaps this blog might play a small part in that journey.

The Woman of General Parts Group share their Experience

There is only one appropriate way to draw this blog to a close, and that is for the women of General Parts to tell you directly about their experiences in our industry and how they have contributed to the success of General Parts and how they think we might encourage more women into our industry, especially into the technical roles. Thank you for reading.

Jeanette Shawcross – Branch Manager – “I have spent 25 years in the service equipment industry, I started out as a tech, became and field technician trainer, and then a general manager before joining General Parts 3 years ago. There is great potential to earn a good living in this industry, but I am disappointed there are not more women technicians and I wonder if it is a generational thing as much as anything else. Today it is different from when I started out, I do not feel (as a woman) I have to prove myself as much and I really love working with my GP team.

Kena Warren – Branch Manager – “I have spent 16 years in this industry, and I have been in many different roles from corporate, to billing, to being on the parts team, and now I am a branch manager here at General Parts. Now more than ever I am seeing more opportunities for women in this industry, there was still a sense of having to impress my technicians at first, that changed once they had a good understanding of my knowledge in field service.”

Stephanie Moore – Regional Manager – “When I started 5 years ago, women were not as accepted in managerial positions in this industry. Younger technicians seem to have changed the mindset a bit, making it seem like we do not need to prove ourselves as much. Our roles are changing daily, for the better!”

Dawn Ige – Billing Manager – “I have been in the restaurant industry for 25 plus years from serving, new restaurant trainer, to now billing manager. This is a tough business, but I would encourage more women to join the industry. I do believe there is more work to be done with promoting and recruiting more women.  I imagine a lot of women do not realize or are even aware of the wider opportunities in the industry.”