Aviation for Women

JUL-AUG 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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16 AviationforWomen J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 Ter e s a's i n r o a d i nt o t h e aerospace industry is not with- out some irony. Teresa had learned to do upholstery work refurbishing furniture for res- taurants. She did this at night i n h e r g a r a g e , w h i l e r u n - ning her strawberry harvest- ing company by day. Eventu- ally, she applied for a position as upholsterer at the company known then as Aeroflair, which eventually became Art Craft Paint. The owner rejected her application and told her, "Women don't do upholstery. They are seamstresses." She left his office, took a look around the factory, and returned to the office to request another application. Teresa took it home, helped her husband fill it out, and told him she would serve as his assistant—show him the ropes and get the work done properly. He was hired and so the course was set. About a year later, the owner of the plant ran into financial prob- lems and decided to sell off a portion of the business starting with the upholstery division. Teresa and her husband jumped at the chance. Soon after, they were offered an opportunity to buy the paint division. Within a three-year period, they owned the com- pany outright. Following a di- vorce, the original company was changed over and Teresa opened Art Craft Paint in 1989. She has owned and operated the company since then. Esmeralda has been involved with the company for years but began working full time at Art Craft in 2013. She acknowledges there is no aircraft painting de- gree. "It's on-the-job training." She worked on a number of projects before joining the com- pany full time. "When my mom asked if I could help with a few projects, I said, 'I think I will make it a permanent thing.' I always envisioned myself in aviation," she said. She adds that she's been working on obtaining a pilot certificate and hopes to complete re- quirements within the next few months. Esmeralda clearly remembers the day at EA A AirVenture Osh - kosh when she realized she could be successful in a field with a ma- jority of men. "This past year was the first year that I came into a booth shopping for a propeller and I wasn't asked who the pilot was. There was no assumption. I was a customer for the very first time. I wasn't overlooked," she says. For Esmeralda, it was especially meaningful as the mother of two daughters. "I want a world where they're valued on their expertise and knowledge—not by their gender," Esmeralda says. She is preparing to step into the shoes of her mother who hopes to retire soon. "I will say it's not lost on me that she has entrusted me with running the company. Females run the entire company. She [Teresa] was turned away because she was a woman." Teresa and her daughter Esmeralda of Art CraŌ Paint PacMin team " T h i s p a s e a r w a s t h e f i r s e a r [ a t E A A A i r V e n t u r e O s h k o s h ] t h a t I c a m e i n t o a b o o t h s h o p p i n g f o r a p r o p e l l e r a n d I w a s n ' t a s k e d w h o t h e p i l o t w a s . T h e r e w a s n o a s s u m p t i o n . I w a s a c u s t o m e r f o r t h e v e r f i r s t t i m e . I w a s n ' t o v e r l o o k e d ," s h e s a s . COURTESY ART CRAF T PAINT

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