By Ashley Reyes
Cristina Jorge is this week’s SEMA Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) Volunteer Spotlight member.
Jorge is the head of the communications task force for PRO and vice president of Specialty Automotive Treatments. In her Q&A with SEMA, Jorge shares how she stays ahead of new changes in the industry, and why her father’s influence inspired her to propel a career in automotive restyling.
SEMA: What inspired you to pursue a career in restyling/manufacturing?
Cristina Jorge: Restyling and the automotive business has always been part of my life growing up; my father, Ralph Jorge Sr., started Specialty Automotive Treatments in 1979. My father has been the biggest inspiration in my life to work in this business. His passion for cars and this industry has always propelled me.
SEMA: Why did you decide to volunteer for PRO? How has it or will it impact you?
CJ: After some years in the business as a restyler, it hit me how quickly how much the automotive business changes year after year. There's always something new happening or being released that will affect my business in some way. Being a part of PRO helps me to stay as ahead of those changes as possible, and maybe somewhere along the way even become a part of it.
SEMA: What advice do you have for someone pursuing a career in the automotive aftermarket?
CJ: Be persistent and be patient. People at the top of their game in the automotive aftermarket industry are typically enthusiasts, experts in their craft, and have been at it a long time. I can say from my personal experience, it can be intimidating. Find these experts/“Pro’s” and surround yourself in their good company. Learn as much as possible from them and network whenever possible.
SEMA: What is your dream vehicle?
CJ: “The Real McCoy” ’56 Chevrolet Corvette. I’ve always loved the simplicity of classic cars.
SEMA: What is the best advice you have ever received?
CJ: If you learn from your failure, it can be one of the most valuable stepping-stones in your journey to success.
SEMA: What keeps you in the industry?
CJ: When I listen to other friends and people talk about work and describe their days, it sounds so boring. I truly love what I do. Like most, there are aspects of my job that I don't appreciate. However, most days, whether it’s my sales team or my customers I feel genuinely blessed to be able to wake up and talk to people about cars and how we can make them look exciting.
SEMA: On a Saturday, where can you be found?
CJ: At a restaurant ordering half the menu. Saturday is my cheat day!