This year I find myself reflecting on my professional life and I recall entering this business with thoughts of changing how our shop would operate. Sixteen years under my belt and I am proud of the changes, Allston Collision Center, has made.

The most important being my decision to move to water based paints. This decision was validated when, the late, Mayor Menino, gave Allston Collision Center its first award for being instrumental in the move toward reducing volatile organic compounds and recycling. Allston Collision Center has subsequently received many awards for its contribution to the clean process and I continue to investigate new and inventive ways to keep our shop on the cutting edge of technology.

There is, of course, another item for which I am proud – being female. Being a female in the auto body business these many years has been an interesting ride. I’m thankful for all it has offered me, and I have learned from all it has taken. For me there is an undeniable satisfaction of having the conversation change from “you’re in auto body business??”, or being completely ignored, to being an innovator in the field.

As this letter comes to a close, I would be remiss if I did not give major props to my crew, who accepted and supported me even when my ideas were going to be different from anything they had done before. Forever a thank you to my business partner who believed I could change the landscape and that I possessed the tenacity to see it through.

Finally, I am always and forever thankful for our long time customers who did not question a woman standing behind the helm as the additional face to three generations of incredible Chaets. To our new customers who come looking for a better experience – Welcome.

I celebrate all that has been given to me through this opportunity and raise my glass to all who have been a part of this journey.

My very best,
Elaine M. O’Neill