Other Articles - November - 2022

A Builder with a Big Heart

About 2 years ago, I was browsing the internet about women in the auto industry, researching information pertaining to my new role as AWIA’s new facilitator. I stumbled across something most unusual that caught my attention. It was a YouTube video by a young lady named Christina taking a test drive in a customer’s vehicle, testing a 6L80 transmission she had just built. The video was short, educational, and had bits of humor. She mentions wondering what might happen if a male customer’s female companion found her long hair in their car. “It’s from my mechanic” might not be so believable. It certainly gives perspective to how unique that scenario is when looking at an industry dominated by males.

I was a member of the Transmission Sisterhood, and not even that group had a female builder at that time. I just had to invite Christina to join AWIA! I had indeed found a diamond in the rough, and she inspired me to do these articles. I’ve been so very honored to get to know Christina through AWIA group meetings and events she’s attended. Her story motivated me to continue my work to encourage women and connect them to one another.

Let me introduce you to Christina McGee, Female Transmission Builder of Auto Transmission Repair in Shreveport, Louisiana. Christina started in the auto industry, working a summer job with her Uncle Wayne at Performance Automotive and Transmission Center in Bossier City. She sold transmissions online, did inventory, and helped with shipping. There, she met a builder named Jim, who would eventually invite her to come work for him in parts and as a service advisor at Auto Transmission Repair.

However, Christina wanted to learn to build but was never given the opportunity. She decided to purchase a core and teach herself. “I was awful! I didn’t even have the tools I needed,” she laughed. But she wasn’t discouraged and spent her nights and weekends learning what she could. She kept bringing in parts and asking David, the shop’s owner, questions. He saw her determination and appreciated her hard work, and she finally got her chance. David asked her to work for him, and she learned to build, starting with a 700-R4.

Christina has been building for approximately 5 years now. She is a mother of two boys, Jaden, age 17, and Ian, age 16. With his mom’s supervision, Jaden rebuilt his own transmission in his first car, a 2006 Trailblazer. You hear stories of fathers and sons restoring and repairing cars together, but what a unique memory Jaden has, sharing the experience with his mom.

Someday, Christina would like to own her own shop. She loves building, and she loves sharing her transmission knowledge with others. This is what inspired her to start her YouTube Channel. “It allows me to connect with others in the industry,” she explained. She mentioned that people walk up to her at seminars, stating they saw her on YouTube. We also discussed how it’s a great way to connect with the new generation.

Social media platforms have become huge in marketing to our customers. Since Christina seemed comfortable with an audience, I invited her to be a member of my AWIA Round Table Presentation in 2021 at the ATRA Expo in Vegas. She was a bit nervous the night before, but after a pep talk with her boss, she killed it the next day.

Christina has a big heart. She’s very humble and one of the kindest people I know. She selflessly went out and fundraised for the AWIA Scholarship, getting donations from fellow shops all on her own. I hope she knows what an inspiration she was at that roundtable session and continues to be for so many people.

Thank you, Christina, for your generosity and for being a part of our industry and AWIA. If you are an amazing woman in the auto industry and want to learn more about AWIA, please visit AmazingWIA.com and join their private ladies-only roundtable group on Facebook for info about the weekly meetings and events! If you would like information about donating to our scholarship fundraiser for Women in Automotive, please e-mail me at tiffany@Amazingwia.com.