So, what’s your ‘secret sauce?’
When we dig into the inspiring success of a company like global luxury brand Singer Vehicle Design, there’s a noticeable ever-growing assemblage of women throughout its workforce, ranging from talented artisans on up to general counsel.
Over the last 15 years, while the burgeoning Singer brand has become known as a beacon for restoring vintage 911 Porsches and reimagining each commission to the ultimate level – Singer has also become known as THE company of aspiration – not just in acquiring its bespoke creations, but in working among those that play a role behind the scenes.
For those that follow the marque, or are simply following the growing trend in vehicle restoration, Singer has grown from a small skunkworks type of shop in Southern California, into a true grown-up business – from seven small separate Southland workshops aligned to complete the reimagination of 964 chassis Porsche 911s, to two separate enlarged facilities in both the US and UK. Its own headquarters in Torrance, Calif, boasts more than 115,000 sq. ft along with an additional Material Velocity Center, yet remains the handcrafted darling of the industry — growing so much that all facilities combined now employ nearly 600 individuals including an inspirational number of women.
And let’s talk about those women – with titles ranging from office manager and executive assistant to chief of staff – and within the ‘hands-on’ front, they include craftspeople extending from sub-assembly, fabrication and quality control specialists to senior design engineers and director of special projects and specifications, and more. For International Women’s Day in 2023, teams in both California and across the Pond were recognised for their commitment to excellence, something Singer strives for in every aspect and well noted in its mantra “everything is important.”
These are well-rounded women – those like Jennifer Strong (pictured left), who brings with her a background that includes playing professional basketball in Ireland and Germany, along with a professional career designing business premium seats for Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Airlines – and later designing the forefront airbag unit for the NIKE shoe debuting in Space Jam 2, better known worldwide as the ‘Lebron 19’ shoe representing the winningest player in all of basketball. She now handles all interior design tasks including prototype and design concepts as Singer’s Senior Design Engineer. As a competitor all her life, she takes great pride in working amongst a team that aspires to and demands greatness.
The allure of crafting an extraordinary product at the intersection of design and technology captivated Lauren Santos (pictured right) enough to bridge her academic acumen in biochemistry and cell biology along with her analytical skills and scientific problem-solving approach, to become Singer’s Director of Supply Chain Operations. Her prior professional accomplishments include contributing to various groundbreaking projects at SpaceX, encompassing well-known programs such as Falcon 9 launches, Dragon Crew Demo-1, and Starlink.
At Singer, Lauren is succeeding by handling meticulous sourcing and refurbishment of materials to support the company’s restoration process, ensuring the highest quality in every aspect of every part for some of the world’s most coveted customised Porsches – and if that isn’t enough motivation, she remains further encouraged by working with a team of passionate car enthusiasts, each deeply invested in every commission.
Technical Specialist Susan Tonks (pictured below) took her learnings from nearly two decades as a body and vehicle engineer for Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, and later spending time as a project engineer and manager at David Brown Automotive and Williams Advanced Engineering — all to realize she could indeed make a difference for an up-and-coming leader like Singer. While experiencing the Singer philosophy within her role at Williams, working directly on the extraordinary Dynamics and Lightweighting Study (DLS) project for Singer, she was anxious to work directly for the brand. She contends that while some may perceive her very ‘black and white’ technical specialist role at Singer to be less creative, she personally is fascinated by researching, understanding and conveying technical information into a language Singer engineers can understand. Most important, she has gained a trust factor within the organisation that allows her to personally make an impact on its business.
Personal accomplishments have even been achieved within a younger subset of involved brand champions, through Singer’s extensive internship study program, a global opportunity created for career enhancement and potential future job opportunities. An active program for the past 17 months, nearly one third of the interns that have completed the ongoing course were women.
Going one step further, Singer has additionally created its own ‘Rotational Study’ program with a goal to ‘reimagine’ what the transition from college graduate to career can be. Alessandra Sinibaldi whose current official title is Associate, Singer Excellence Program, is now enrolled in a 3-year commitment with the company that will engage her to learn all cross-departmental functions, providing a well-rounded experience throughout various departments. Graduating Magna Cum Laude and earning two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Southern California’s prestigious Viterbi School of Engineering and the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, she majored in Industrial and Systems Engineering (and Italian).
“The shop’s kindness and passion for making drivable art has motivated me to learn and perform at the highest level possible in an effort to contribute to the excellence that surrounds me,” said Alessandra. “The guidance and support I’ve received from both the floor and management is unparalleled in my life and instills an unwavering confidence to take up space as a woman in the automotive industry.”
For a company that thrives on the pursuit of excellence, women like these have found a home where they can share the very same values. And as Singer continues on its exponential growth trajectory, it’s only fitting that more and more women are included in realising the company’s successes. If you find yourself with a burning passion to take on a role where ‘everything is important,’ Singer may just be the next spot for you – check their opportunities at www.singervehicledesign.com/careers.
Photographs by Singer Vehicle Design.