News & Opportunities

    AWAF Announces Honorees for the first AWAF Awards to be presented at the Annual Holiday Affair

    The Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation will honor three people who have made an impact in the automotive industry at their Annual Holiday Affair on Thursday, December 5, 2019, 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Art Leaders Gallery in West Bloomfield.

    This is the first year for these awards and they are designed to celebrate and honor the achievements of women and change champions who live the AWAF mission of advancing and empowering women in the automotive industry. 

    2019 AWAF Honorees are:

    Maureen LaFontaine will receive posthumously the Industry Achievement Award. This award honors a woman who has made an outstanding contribution for at least ten (10) years in the automotive industry while also making a difference by promoting and supporting her fellow women to achieve their automotive career aspirations.

    She co-founded LaFontaine Automotive in Highland Township with her husband. To ensure she knew how to run the family business in case something happened to her husband.  She started selling cars and then in 1984, she became a dealer, running what is now the LaFontaine Group’s largest store. She attended Harvard Business School and her vision led the company to become the first dealership to receive a General Motors Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification.  She was the mastermind behind the "Family Deal" — a recognized brand. Past honors include 2009 Most Powerful and Accomplished Women in Business Leaders (Inforum), 2010 Top 100 Leading Women in Automotive (Automotive News), 2014 Women's Automotive Association Spirit of Leadership, 2019 Northwood University Distinguished Women Honoree and 2019 NADA Show Top 10 Favorite #WomenInAutomotive contest.  A strong supporter of AWAF and its mission she served on our Executive Advisory Council for several years and LaFontaine Automotive and Maureen have consistently supported our largest fund-raiser Swinging Fore Scholarships Golf Outing.

    Sara Mohon will receive the Emerging Leader Award: This award honors a woman who has been in her career 10 years or less and has demonstrated outstanding performance, as well as leadership in her professional work and the community.

    Sara currently works at BorgWarner as an Electrified Powertrain Engineer where she develops simulation models and control strategies for electrified powertrains.  Sara has a PhD in Automotive Engineering. Through her research she built a new Electric Hybrid Powertrain Integration Laboratory at Clemson University. Her Ph.D. dissertation work resulted in a new algorithm to diagnose faults in any system that uses less expensive sensors and she was also awarded a US patent on Systems and Methods to Determine the Condition of a Battery. In her past four years at BorgWarner, Sara has led the development to WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) within BorgWarner to help find ways to promote STEM careers in the local community. A past AWAF scholarship recipient, Sara is actively involved in AWAF’s STEM initiatives providing support and ideas to encourage young women to go into STEM fields.

    Dr. Craig J. Hoff, P.E.  will receive the Change Champion Award. This award recognizes a man or company who has contributed significantly to the acceptance and advancement of women in the automotive industry

    Dr. Hoff has been an advocate for women his entire career. He is the driving force to increasing female faculty at Kettering University in the engineering program. In 2012 when he became Department Head of Mechanical Engineering there were only three female faculty members. Under his leadership he increased this number by 30 percent. Currently he is Dean of the College of Engineering where he has been responsible for hiring 14 new faculty members with 50 percent of them being women. Dr. Hoff has stated, "He wants every kind of student to have a strong role model teaching them, especially young women." He has personally mentored and coached many female engineering students and helped them design the educational path that would lead them to success. Dr. Hoff is supportive of the student section of the Society of Women Engineers, even attending the national conference in 2018.

    To attend the 2019 AWAF Holiday Affair and for sponsorship information go to AWAFoundation.org.