Meet Carleton Place’s Female Mechanic — Melissa Gaumond-Harriet

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Motorhouse Mitsubishi in Carleton Place services all makes and models of vehicles. Russ Moxam, their service manager and Brian, their head technician, have been servicing vehicles in the Carleton Place community for more than 50 years combined. Garages are basically a mens-only club, so what is special in that Mitshubi dealership garage situated on Highway 7?

For almost a year now I have been watching Melissa Gaumond-Harriet apprenticing at Motorhouse. I am pretty vocal, and think it is pretty awesome to have a female mechanic in our area. You can tell right away she knows what she is doing and she blends in like she is one of the guys. Am I biased because she is a female? Maybe:)

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What do I know about mechanics? Not one heck of a lot, but I know you just can’t take a course and be a great mechanic. I watched my youngest son Perry work his heart out changing his first motor. It took him a whole day, a lot of frustration, and a case of Diet Pepsi. But after that, even at a young age, he was changing complete motors like magic. He had a natural ‘kavorka’ as Kramer from Seinfeld would say with the mechanics of a car like Melissa does.  Good mechanics can achieve success learn from schooling, but hands-on experience is something you can’t buy.

So how does one go from dolls to cars? Is it a special gene some of us didn’t get? Her father had a garage in my old home town in Cowansville, Quebec. At 6 she was tinkering around cars with her Father, and at 13 she did her first engine swap and she was hooked.

She tried to stay away from the field and took Forensic Anthropology at John Abbot. She was even a fitness instructor, but the smell of oil and grease kept beckoning her back. To feed her soul she took a mechanics course at Algonquin where it wasn’t that easy being a female in the industry. Women are still not freely accepted in some garages, and she has to work harder than men to prove she is qualified. Melissa got out there, got her hands dirty, and showed everyone she wasn’t afraid to sweat. Her Mother was always behind her and in Melissa’s words her Mum just looked at her and said,

Go for it!”

Melissa admits that a lot of people still do not trust a woman with their car. She and I both find that personally and technically insulting. I asked her how hard it was to get a job apprenticing with Motorhouse. She said she just walked up to Russ, the service manager and asked. Fortunately, Russ trusted his instincts, and the rest is history, as Melissa is well on the road to building her reputation.

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There is no doubt watching her that she is good at what she does. One of the other mechanics, Josh admitted quite freely,

Melissa is awesome, and one of the best apprentices I have ever seen.”

Guys don’t lie, and I am so proud that Motorhouse Mitsubishi understands and promotes the fact that women are not stupid, and should be welcomed in a male dominated field.

The old saying is,

If you’ve got it, you’ve got it” – and Melissa is running circles around those words. She is young, talented and doing it! You go girl!

Motorhouse Mitsubishi

10446 Hwy 7, Carleton Place, ON K7C 3P2
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About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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