Progressive Grease Monkey
Sarah “Bogi” Lateiner built her loyal client base with the same skill and steady precision she used to rebuild the 1974 Volkswagen Beetle parked in her backyard. Since opening 180 Degrees Automotive in November of 2006, Lateiner has ministered to an ever-quickening stream of vehicles flowing through her eight-bay garage in central Phoenix. Good word of mouth helped, as did television. Lateiner has starred on the Velocity Channel show All Girls Garage for four seasons.
Dressed in black, but with a bright smile, youthful energy and clean hands (the lack of grease stains is a minor grooming miracle), Lateiner looks more like a nice Jewish girl from New York than a grab-life-by-the-ball-bearings sort. In truth, she’s both. Lateiner’s love for the wrench started at 16, after she got her first car – the aforementioned Beetle, which was always breaking down. She felt she was being taken advantage of at repair shops because she didn’t know anything about cars, so she took auto shop classes in high school and rebuilt her bug “from the ground up” as a project. After completing the mechanics program at Phoenix’s Universal Technical Institute, Lateiner worked for BMW for six and a half years.
“Women are 2.8 percent of all mechanics,” she says. The average is much higher at her garage, where two of her seven employees are fellow female mechanics. Her clients skew 60-70 percent women. As far as any differences between male and female mechanics, she says, “The only real difference that I know is, most of the women who are in this industry… we’re here because we want to be here. And we’ve had to fight, very often very hard, to get here, and so there’s a lot more drive and a lot more passion.”
She still has the 1974 Volkswagen. “It has been horribly neglected,” she admits. “I can’t let it go. I’m one of those sentimental, mushy types. It’s what got me started. It’s what got me where I am.”
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