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“Some people thought I went into automotive tech to be a male attention whore,” says 20-year-old Stephanie French with a sheepish grin. “What they didn’t understand was that not only was I there to learn about cars and only cars, but most of the guys in my classes weren’t exactly dating material.” The Bellingham, Wash., native isn’t your typical girl. Behind her pretty face is a hard-core car fanatic, with ASE Certifications for brakes and transmissions. She even works crew for Paul Eklund’s rally team, which as most car enthusiasts know is no easy task. When she’s not turning wrenches at a rally event, Stephanie works as a controller for World One Performance in Seattle, where she also turns wrenches when needed.
Cars were almost literally in Stephanie’s blood as she grew up. Her father worked for a local Nissan and Volvo dealership, where Stephanie spent many hours working with her father in the shop. Stephanie’s grandfather would additionally take the time to explain how the mechanics of the cars worked and the importance of each component. It was during her senior year of high school when her love for Subaru grew into an unstoppable fanaticism, thanks to a passionate Subaru enthusiast she was dating at the time. “His passion quickly rubbed off on me and I have been hooked ever since,” Stephanie recounts. “Before that, I owned a 1969 Ford Mustang, and that to me was the world’s greatest car. It’s still a great love, but Subaru by far takes the win.”
After graduating from high school, Stephanie attended Bellingham Technical College to study Automotive Technology, where she received her ASE certifications. She wasted no time getting into the automotive industry, and by using her passion for Subarus, she quickly got a job at the Dewey Griffin Subaru dealership in Bellingham. Being around Subarus all the time fueled her passion even more, to the point where people would think she was crazy because of her Subaru obsession. After her stint with Dewey Griffin Subaru, Stephanie moved over to work at H&R Springs’ North American facility in Bellingham, where she gained a great deal of knowledge on the inner workings of suspension. Looking for a change of pace, Stephanie then moved to Seattle, where she now currently works at World One Performance, still staying true to her Subaru roots.