Leading Ladies

Jan. 1, 2001
I JUST FINISHED READING THE October issue. Cheers to your article "Leading Ladies." I help run a Grand Rental Station in Oneida, N.Y., and share many

I JUST FINISHED READING THE October issue. Cheers to your article "Leading Ladies." I help run a Grand Rental Station in Oneida, N.Y., and share many of the experiences your "leading ladies" have had.

I have always chosen the "road less traveled" in every aspect of my life. I have mostly worked in male-dominated fields. I started out driving a dump truck, which led to road construction and then working here. I was hired because of my construction background. I worked out back, cleaning and servicing equipment and occasionally delivering equipment. I was also taught how to wait on the customer and offer advice.

It sure hasn't been easy. Guys would just look right through me as if I weren't even there. They would call and ask for my boss, Kevin, who was out back, up to his elbows in grease. All they had to say was "Do you have a plate tamper?" which is right in front of me when I answer the phone! But for some reason they just wouldn't talk to a girl.

It took awhile, but I think I have earned respect from many of the customers. Occasionally someone will ask Kevin about a particular project, and he will say, "Ask Kim, she knows more about that than I do." We both are laughing a little inside.

I enjoy the variety of working in a rental store. One minute I am showing someone how to run a demo saw, and then I might be helping a customer plan a wedding. I also order supplies and equipment and handle the monthly billing. I don't really have a chance to get bored. I'd like to think that I work like a man but am still a lady underneath it all. Perhaps someday I will be a role model. That would be the best compliment I could receive.

Keep up the good work.

Kim HawkinsGrand Rental StationOneida,N.Y.

I JUST WANTED TO SEND YOU AN e-mail about the great article you put in RER on "Leading Ladies." It is great to see us recognized. I must agree that women are more organized and can handle the stress of taking on more tasks at one time. I have been doing rentals at my company for about eight years. It is hard in a man's world, but once you show them you know your stuff, they don't seem to question you too much anymore.

It is a shame they do not pay women like they pay men.

Again, thank you for presenting an article on women in the industry.

Kelley L. Novakowski Atlantic Lift Truck Baltimore

IT WAS GREAT TO SEE SOMETHING written about the small number of women in our rental industry, and your article was very enjoyable. Yes, it is a man's industry, and I applaud any woman who can "hang in there."

I "fell" into my position as president at Harford Rental Service in Bel Air, Md., but it is not easy. The women in your article expressed the many different aspects they've had to deal with.

Keep up the good work, and throw in some "women" stories more often.

Lydia Deutsch Harford Rental Service Bel Air, Md.

I JUST FINISHED REVIEWING YOUR article "Leading Ladies." I agree that women can hold their own in any profession - including rentals.

I am the office manager at a John Deere Construction dealership in Jerome, Idaho. Our rental manager for our Jerome store and our head office in Meridian, Idaho, is Trish Cereda, who has held the position for more than three years. She moved from an office position into sales, then became an assistant in the rental department and then moved to her current position of managing the entire heavy equipment line. This position can be very demanding, but Trish has done a terrific job. She has great rapport with the customers and has been instrumental in making tremendous increases in our rental revenue.

I wanted to pass this on to you for reference if you ever decide to have a follow-up article and were looking for more women in rentals.

Sandrea Morgan John Deere Construction Jerome, Idaho

GREAT ARTICLE! I JUST FINISHED reading it during my 10-minute lunch "hour."

I am a second-generation employee since 1987, when my parents asked my then-boyfriend (now husband) to be their mechanic. I came along, too! In the 13 years that we've been here, I have done it all: counter sales, accounts receivable, computer purchasing, payroll, accounts payable, human resources, safety implementation, advertising, marketing and store remodeling.

It's funny that my husband is general manager and I don't have a job title besides "party coordinator." He makes more than twice my monthly salary (I finally got salary this year, as opposed to hourly wage).

My biggest challenge seems to be proving my worth to my own arents/employers. With my folks getting ready to retire, my goal is to be named president as opposed to secretary/treasurer. I've thought of pursuing other job opportunities, but I realize the benefits of being your own boss and knowing that this place could not run without me.

If you do more articles like this, I certainly would be interested in second-generation women in the business. It also would have been helpful to get an idea of what their salaries are.

Thanks again for a great article that hit close to home. I could relate to the quotes from each of the women you interviewed. I really enjoy it when I'm on the counter and a customer will start speaking to me, then look right to the man who walked in behind me. It doesn't matter if he's a yard guy, he must know more than this woman. Then the yard guy stands there mute and looks back at me for the answer! Granted, I don't know everything, but I'll sure find out if I don't.

Melinda West-Miller West's Rentals & Sales Pendleton, Ore.

I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED READING your article on women in rentals. I specifically related to Stacey Loftis' story. I manage W.W. Rentals, owned by my dad Earl Wagner. I have worked here since high school.

Rentals is a business like no other and I love it, although it's never easy. I'm often at work on my own, answering phones, placing orders, servicing equipment and serving customers.

I get up in the morning and go to work in a ponytail and overalls. When people ask me why I like this job, I simply say it keeps me interested. The most precious look is that on a guy's face when a 120-pound blond girl hooks him up to a trailer and loads a (wheel loader). I'll never tire of it. Nice to see there's others like me!

Beccy Wagner W.W. Rentals Swift Current, Sask, Canada