Nov 2011

Female Auto Shop Owner of the Year Audra Fordin Great Bear Auto & Body Shop>

Audra Fordin, mom of 3 small children, the owner of a fourth-generation family-owned automotive repair shop in Queens, N.Y., has been named the first “Female Service Shop Owner of the Year” by the Car Care Council Women’s Board.

Fordin was honored for her “dedication and commitment to educating and empowering women,” said Women’s Board President Ruth Ehlinger, after the announcement was made Tuesday evening, Nov. 1, at a reception at the 2011 Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo. The Car Care Council Women’s Board is dedicated to encouraging women to become active in vehicle maintenance and promoting career opportunities for women in the automotive parts and service industry.

Fordin is the first female owner/operator of her family’s automotive repair business, Great Bear Auto Shop, in Flushing, which has been in the same location since 1933. She has been in the auto repair industry all of her life – close to 30 years—spending her weekends while growing up at the shop with her dad, learning all aspects of auto repairs.

Fordin’s mission is to empower women (and men, too) through her educational programs—“What Women Auto Know”—so they become confident, safe and secure auto consumers and drivers. “Winning this award helps give me the inner strength to move forward and realize that my mission is real,” Fordin said. “It validates what I’m doing—that it’s powerful, and it’s going to make a difference in the world.”

In addition to her workshops, Fordin educates women on car care through a weekly radio call-in show called “The Auto Lab,” a TV show on Verizon FIOS1 and through her website, Her repair shop was recently honored by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the 2011 New York City Small Business of the Year.