Her Love for Cars Came Early in Life
As Office Manager for DeBoer’s Auto, Colleen LePera is no stranger to the automotive world. In fact, she was a car lover long before her 5+ years here. Colleen’s been attracted to the auto industry for as long as she can remember. When she was four years old, her grandmother blew a tire on their old Volkswagen Golf, and Colleen just had to know how to change it, so her dad gave in. He not only showed her how to change the tire, but let her put the lug nuts on!
After that, she was hooked. Instead of sitting still during church services, little Colleen would lay under her chair and pretend she was working on a car.
When her high school years arrived, Colleen wanted to learn more about cars, but she also enjoyed playing soccer. Choosing to split her two favorite interests between schools, she attended the Sussex County vo-tech high school for auto shop class, then traveled to her regular high school to hit the soccer field.
Part of the auto shop program at her high school called for her to work half a day in a related industry as part of their Cooperative Industrial Education program (CIE). However, being female put her at a distinct disadvantage. Her first placement was at a diesel shop where she had to lift enormous tires for 18 wheelers. Since the shop didn’t have a tire machine she was required to pry them manually onto the rims. When she realized she didn’t have enough weight to use for leverage, she requested another placement. The program coordinator’s list of shops included Bill’s shop and a call was made to DeBoer’s Auto.
When she received a call from Bill DeBoer, he offered her a job. The opening was for answering phones and greeting customers, and Bill thought she’d work well with the customers. Colleen jumped at the chance. Although her love of cars was not diminished, she was happy to step out of her hands-on role and into the front office. She’s never looked back. Colleen will always be grateful to Bill DeBoer for taking a chance on that high school girl who loved cars.
Stay tuned next month for the next employee spotlight post to find out what really fuels Colleen to happily meet each new day at DeBoer’s.