NORWALK, Conn. -- According to Maryann Croce, co-owner of Croce’s Transmission Specialists, a Norwalk automotive repair shop, who says auto repair careers are just for guys?
Croce's career path is an unconventional one, and her start in the automotive industry was not something she'd envisioned at a young age. "As a young girl, I wanted to be a teacher or a nurse," said Croce. "Who knew years later I would be a woman in a male-dominated industry and co-own a transmission auto repair shop?"
Croce was raised by small-business entrepreneurs; her mother's family owned a local Italian restaurant and her father and grandfather were construction contractors. It was in seeing her family's hard work and dedication that Croce was convinced to open a small business of her own.
"I remember as a little girl, loving the smell of fresh cut lumber when spending time in my dad’s workshop," said Croce. "I also have fond memories of folding pizza boxes and putting coins in the jukebox to listen to my favorite songs while visiting my grandfather. Even as a child I knew they were hard working and enjoyed helping others."
After meeting her husband, Tony, in high school, and completing her education, Maryann ultimately began a career in banking. Meanwhile, Tony had completed his automotive training in Denver, CO. and returned to Connecticut to take up work as an automotive technician. However, the couple both wanted to do more. After careful planning, the pair founded Croce Transmission Specialists in 1999 and hasn't looked in the rearview mirror since.
"I always knew I wanted to own a business," said Croce. "It was years later that I realized, what I really wanted was to make a difference. I wanted to empower people, especially women. I believe that comes from my desire to be part of something bigger, and the gratitude I have for all of the people who have inspired me."
Now, with nearly 20 years of success as a female owner in a male-dominated industry, Croce is encouraging women to try their hand in professions that seem against the norm. "I really am supportive of young women and recommend they pursue a career in the automotive field," said Croce.
"I speak at schools to help students make informed choices about prospects in the industry, and let young women and men know of the many opportunities the automotive field offers, from technician to marketing, customer service and management”
For more information about Croce Transmission Specialists and to see how they are "Taking The Fear Out Of Auto Repair," visit their website.