Barbara Bolton: Driven to Succeed


Growing up playing dress up and Pretty Pretty Princess isn’t for everyone. Some women, like St. Johns resident Barbara Bolton, grew up preferring toy cars to Barbies.

“My sister was all into girly stuff — I liked changing the oil on my dad’s car,” said Bolton.

When she was a young girl, Bolton’s father would routinely check his car for general wear and tear. Bolton was fascinated by the vehicle’s upkeep and joined her father often, learning new tricks as her father let her help.

“Cars are exciting! I love the technical side of cars,” said Bolton.

With this passion for cars, Bolton decided to crack into the automobile industry. At age 18, Bolton set her sights on becoming a service writer. She was declined and instead received a desk receptionist position at a dealership.

Soon Bolton worked her way up to service cashier, then to car sales. Working in sales did not fulfill her ambitions, so she yet again reached for something a bit more fast-paced. This time she landed the job she had hoped for in the beginning.

“It was unheard of for women to be in the service writing profession,” said Bolton. “Now there are a lot of women in the industry; there have been some big changes in the past 10 years.”

Yet Bolton is still alone with only men in the service department at Okemos Auto Collection, where she has worked for the past two months.

Bolton’s job entails being the main liaison between the client and technicians. She gives quotes, makes appointments and sets up transportation, among many other daily duties.

“I love the job — the majority of the time people come in upset, angry, stressed; but hopefully by the time they leave I’ve changed that around,” said Bolton, who dubs this side of her job as “diffusing the bombs.”

Out of all the joys the job has brought her, Bolton has enjoyed watching the shift in gears from men bringing in the car for repairs to women. It is a pleasure for her to deal with women who might have been intimidated had she not been there for support.

“It shouldn’t be about waiting around for a man to get the oil changed, we should empower ourselves,” declared Bolton.

Aside from cars and working, Bolton likes to dibble dabble in art, travel and visit with her three sons.

“I pretty much just work, work, work, but I love it!” Bolton said.

Tags: auto service, barbara bolton, okemos auto collection, service writer

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