Middleton, Nova Scotia — It’s not always easy working in a male-dominated field, however, Bernice Thomas is celebrating 25 years of employment with Bruce Auto Group, proving it’s not as hard as people think if you love what you’re doing.
Thomas first found her passion for collision repair as a young girl working with her father, helping him fix vehicles.
“My interest in collision repair would date back to my days as a little girl working alongside my dad. I enjoyed every minute being outside working with him on things to make a better outcome for them,” said Thomas.
After high school, Thomas attended post-secondary school at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) in Motor Vehicle Repair, as a technician. While there she learned the necessary skills to fix the mechanical side of vehicles.
While at NSCC, she started working part-time in Middleton pumping gas at Bruce Auto’s two locations, and eventually by that summer Thomas was full-time.
As she spent time in various departments acquiring a wider range of skills in vehicular maintenance and repair, she was promoted to service consultant.
“I continued on my journey beginning with the very challenging position of service consultant, followed by a depth of detail learned as a parts manager, accounting and concluding with the BDC,” explained Thomas. “From there it was on to CSN Bruce for the last 12 plus years.”
Along the way to reaching management, she also participated in numerous online and in-class training programs in her free time.
Thomas has found great success in collision repair, despite stereotypes, because of her passion and willingness to help the industry attract more women. She runs her own shop and has been spent the last 12 years with CSN Bruce proving that stereotype wrong.
“There are days when a client will come into the shop and not like the answers given to them and want to ‘talk to the manager.’ Sometimes their look is worth a thousand words when they see a female as the manager,” said Thomas.
“To young women today, I’ll say dream big, don’t let anyone tell you can’t do something. If you’re willing to do the work, working in the trades is an amazing opportunity to showcase what you are capable of doing, showing pride in your work.”