Take a look around the Red Bull Holden Racing Team workshop and you’re likely to find mechanics, engineers, deal makers (the good kind), truckies and welders – some men and some women.
Today, we all celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, because the women in our team are doing a smashing job and we’d love to show more girls and young women what they can do too.
The leading example around here is Romy “Flushies” Mayer, our Data Engineer for Car #1, a German native but well and truly Aussie – if she’s not in the workshop, you’ll find her surfing the country’s best breaks.
Following our recent three-week racing hiatus, Romy is sporting a fresh tan and is already planning her next surfing escapade, to Bali no less.
Yet, between the surf and engineering a championship-winning race car, Romy makes an effort to inspire younger generations of women to pursue a career in engineering – it’s something that genuinely puts a smile on her face.
In fact, she was disappointed to miss out on the Women in Engineering celebrations planned at the Queensland University of Technology this weekend.
Every so often, Romy will pop up at a local university to speak to and advise younger engineers on how they too can make a career in engineering.
Her goal? To ensure that the younger ladies today don’t have to prove that they’re on par with the gentlemen, because they already are.
“The biggest challenge for me wasn’t the hard work or the long hours, it was overcoming the perception of the professors at university who still held the very long tradition in Germany that it is for males,” said Romy.
“As a woman in the male-dominated environment, you firstly had to prove that you are on the same level.
“Fortunately, that is changing and there are more programs to help women get into engineering at a young age.
“There are too less women in engineering, but there are new programs developing and I’m pretty keen to help path the way for young girls who want to get into engineering.
Aside from acquiring some thick skin, thanks to her experience in J-Dub’s side of the garage, our German friend knows all too well that anyone can pursue engineering in motorsport if they want.
“You don’t need to give up your personality or identity. In the end, it doesn’t make a difference if you are male or female, it’s about your attitude and your motivation.
“The team also benefits from a female bringing in different approaches and looking at things from another perspective.”
It’s similar to having a “man’s look” as well as a “woman’s look”…
As Romy shows us more photos of her on the beach near her Gold Coast home, it’s clear that she’s is pretty happy with what she’s achieved to be here.
Packing up the bags, saying “Auf Wiedersehen” to her family and moving across to the land down under was a big challenge in Romy’s career pursuit – leaving the German bratwurst and fresh pretzels behind is not for the weak…
“Moving to Australia in 2015 was a big change and challenge for me. I sold everything, packed my bags and left all of my family and friends,” continued Romy.
“Even though I was super excited to come here, it wasn’t all that easy.”
Come on Romy, we have lamb and lamingtons!
“Although, I wouldn’t change anything. Everything I did and everything that happened brought me to where I am now and I’m pretty happy with it.”
Wonder if she’s tried Vegemite yet…
Before Romy started breaking down barriers for females in engineering, how did the young German girl become involved in the world of Supercars?
Aside from seeing Michael Schumacher “win all of the F1 races” at a young age, Romy said there was little to no motorsport in her childhood.
Romy’s love for engineering began early thanks to her Dad who works in the CNC machine business world which was her “first insight in the technical world,” and she credits her parents for much of where she is today.
“There’s isn’t anyone else than my parents who I looked up to. Especially now looking back, I can’t thank them enough for my childhood,” said Romy.
“We also didn’t have any motorsport background but when my Dad saw that I was good at Maths and Physics, he pushed me in that direction.
“As I’m from Stuttgart, where there are a lot of big car manufacturers, I grew up surrounded by the car industry.
“But even when I finished high school, I wasn’t convinced I wanted to be an engineer. It was only after I completed an internship at Mercedes that I realised I was super keen to actually design parts of the car.
“Then, while I was studying Automotive Engineering, I got hooked on motorsport as my university had a Formula Student team. That was my first experience of how a motorsport team works.”
So, what’s next for our German mate? Aside from the surfing…
“Winning a lot of championships with my team,” Romy exclaimed.
“Motorsport is such a fast developing and ever-changing industry, you never get bored within your job.”
We’re lucky to have Romy and the more pretzels we can get our hands on, the better 🙂