“Doing the work” has guided Carriger’s journey to her current position. From the time she was 18 and she was asked to manage a Springfield TCBY, she embraced new opportunities. She began working in the car industry in 2005, starting as a receptionist and moving into other positions, including accounts payable, accounts receivable and service writer. In 2012, she was serving as office manager when the dealership she worked for, Central Dodge, was sold to Corwin. “It was a trial by fire,” she reflects. “I had to assist in closing a business that sold while also helping to build a new business.” In 2015, she joined her current dealership as comptroller, and in 2021, she was named general manager. “I was surprised when [then-owner] Jon Wessel asked me to be the general manager,” Carriger says. “But I was grateful for his vote of confidence.”
Nationwide, women comprise less than 11 percent of staff at automobile dealerships, but Carriger seeks to change that. “Many women love sales, but a lot of them don’t think of the automotive industry as a potential career option,” she says. Carriger cites good benefits, possibilities for advancement and income potential, along with positions in corporate offices, manufacturing, and dealerships as reasons her industry is a good fit for women.
At Pinegar Honda, women make up 50 percent of the sales staff and nearly 30 percent of total employees. “From a customer’s perspective, a lot of women prefer to deal with women, whether it’s in the service or parts department or in purchasing a vehicle,” Carriger says. “I think women offer different insights. We come at problems from different angles to find resolution.”