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Stephanie Hunsaker: trailblazer for women riders

 

The BRP family includes not only its employees, but also its dealers and customers. In our dealerships, we see more and more women making their mark as businesswomen and powersports experts. Stephanie Hunsaker, general manager of ADS Motorsports in Utah, is one of them.

Stephanie has had a love of powersports since her earliest years. She started riding snowmobiles, ATVs and watercraft with her dad at the tender age of seven. When her father started the family business in 1999, Stephanie was quick to join him. She worked almost every position at the dealership: cleaning equipment, assembling machines, keeping the books, making sales, and more. By the time she was 13, Stephanie knew she wanted to stay in the business. Now general manager of ADS Motorsports, Stephanie has striven to make a difference for women in powersports.

What’s it like to be a woman in the powersports industry?

Being a woman in this industry is sometimes a little difficult. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been at the parts counter and a customer only wants to talk to one of the guys. Same goes for the sales floor. I am now the General Manager of our store and men still want to talk to a “parts guy” or “sales guy”. Our gender doesn’t indicate what experience we have, but it’s often assumed that I’m not a confident rider or I don’t know my stuff, because I’m a woman, and usually the only one in the room.

How have things changed for women since you entered the job market?

I think the industry has become much more inclusive. We now have female riders like Ashley Chaffin showing women they can enter the industry, and that they can ride even better than men. I feel like, years ago, I was one of the few women riding in the backcountry; now we have many more women really taking to the sport and striving to get better and better.

What still needs to be done?

I feel like everything is headed in the right direction. We need to just continue to promote the growth of women in the industry, to keep designing gear that fits well and is performance-based. Also, to look into accessories that are easier to use and wear for smaller body types. Basically, we just need to keep adapting the sport for all.

What advice do you have for women in the business?

Continue to help other women feel comfortable in the industry. Be willing to take them with you on a ride, and work with them. Sometimes they will gain confidence just by seeing another woman do it. At the Davis County snowmobiling club, women see that I can climb that hill or take a certain line through the trees that they would typically avoid, and they try it. They realize it wasn’t as hard as they thought it was. I love watching them and seeing them gain confidence with things I’ve shown them or taught them.

Do you do things to help women in your field succeed?

Of course! We do at least one women’s ride a year at the snowmobiling club, where I try to work with the female riders so they can gain confidence in the sport. I also try to find women that want a career in the industry and employ them at the dealership. We have eight women now, two of them in the parts department. It’s hard to find women who want to learn more about the machines technically. I think they feel like they don’t know enough to venture into the parts fiche. We’re trying to show them that if they’re willing to learn, women are more than capable of being excellent parts associates and sales people.