A Certified Tourism Ambassador for around six years, Amber has been the Back to the Bricks® Executive Director since January 2020. Once chosen for the position, she shifted straight into high gear, coming up with new ideas for growing the event and attracting a younger crowd to appreciate Flint’s rich automotive history. She will be on hand for the Tune Up Week Parties happening around Genesee County during the week of August 8-13 2022. While Amber has been super-busy promoting Back to the Bricks, she took some time to answer a few questions and let us get up-close and personal … read on!
1. What was your very first job?
Instead of taking a college scholarship offered to me for track and field (high jump), I decided to place that on hold; I had some things I needed to work through and college had to wait. So, just one week after graduating from Red Bluff High School (CA), I went full-blast into a summer job as a basic laborer at Sierra Pacific Industries in Red Bluff and in four months, worked hard to become the company’s youngest female forklift driver. I LOVED it!
2. What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I am a daredevil! I love walking on the side of danger. Skydiving was on my “Bucket List” so for my 40th birthday, I did it! I jumped from 14,000 feet in Grand Haven over the waters of Lake Michigan. I also love roller coasters and have a need for speed. I had a Yamaha R1 motorcycle and pushed it too many times over 120mph; so I now ride an older, Limited Edition Wide Glide Harley-Davidson. It still has the thrill, but I keep it slow and steady.
3. Who has inspired your career path most?
Honestly, my current career path was set by my parents who both worked full-time jobs while raising a family. My dad was a truck driver, but in his spare time he planned amazing barbecues, grilling our favorite Santa Maria-Style tri-tip, and he enjoyed working on and rebuilding old Chevy trucks. He taught me to drive in a 1981 Ford F250 4-speed, which is the truck I currently have and drive with my daughter to all Back to the Bricks events. My mom worked in my Grandpa Harvey’s automotive garage that specialized in classic cars and trucks. He worked on a 1966 Plymouth Fury 3 that my mom ended up buying and became the vehicle I drove back and forth to high school. So, cool cars and trucks have been in my life since I was born.
4. How would your friends describe you?
They always tell me I give too much and offer help even when I need it myself; kind, loving, forgiving – someone who will always answer their phone and be there for you whenever or for whatever you need. Compassionate, understanding and always showing empathy for others … I’m a lover, not a fighter!
5. If you had a warning label, what would it say?
“WARNING: Doesn’t do well in quiet and tight spaces.” I am loud and not afraid of large crowds. What gets me nervous is a yoga class or a resting room. A few years ago, Back to the Bricks had a Flint & Genesee Chamber event at a yoga studio and I had to leave. I started sweating. It was too quiet! I get the creeps being that relaxed and quiet. No thanks, not me.
6. What would we hear you sing at Karaoke Night?
I love singing! I sing with my church in a contemporary rock band called nXt and I BEG my friends to go to karaoke. Fun Fact: I auditioned for “American Idol’’ Season 4 and was told by the judges that I need “more confidence.” They probably should not have told me that because when I’m on stage now, it makes me over-the-top! I love interacting with the crowd and singing songs like “Goodbye Earl” (The Chicks), anything by 4 Non-Blondes or Alanis Morissette, and give me some “It’s Raining Men” or “Why Haven’t I Heard from You” and I am ON FIRE!
7. What is the biggest work-related thing you hope to achieve in the next year?
I am working on a project to help highlight the amazing statues built and already on display in Genesee County celebrating Flint’s automobile history and industry. I think we need more awareness – more people and more of our youth to hear their stories. The amount of history we have right here in our backyard is phenomenal!