Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 86



A female-forward workforce makes it happen at Stroud Safety BY JOHN DIBARTOLOMEO

W hile this may be the women of Power issue highlighting several women in our sport , the fact of the matter is there are so many deserving women , some who work behind the scenes to make our sport great .

In the case we ’ re talking about here , those women are Anita Cunningham , Lluvia and Olympia Amador , Elisa Barrientos , Sheila Bentley , Angelica Chaparro , Julieta and Maria Dorado , Leticia Esquivel , Cecilia Garcia , Gloria Goytia , Osbalda Guerrero , Nancy Morales , Erin Mullen , Amber Nickell , Maria Oliver , Yolanda Ramirez , Silvia Reyes , Estela Rodarte , Edith Saldivar , Sandra Torres , Maria Tovar , Magdalen Valles , and Raymunda Vaszuez . These are the women of Stroud Safety .
Bob Stroud , a gearhead and paratrooper , began the company over 35 years ago as he was looking
for a better parachute design that would help to slow down the ever-increasing speeds the cars of that day were running . Through his own unique method of testing , he found the answer , which has led Stroud Safety to not only offer parachutes but also other motorsports safety equipment . While Bob Stroud may have sold the company and officially retired , he still jumps out of perfectly good airplanes as a hobby quite often .
Cunningham Machine , owned by Tommy and Anita Cunningham , began supplying machined components for Stroud Safety years ago . “ I guess it was sometime in late 2018 or early ‘ 19 when Bob had mentioned he felt it was time to retire ,” said Tommy . “ He had such a great lineup of products , most of which we used on our own Pro Mod car . Bob and I finally came to a purchase agreement in late 2019 . What we immediately put in place was our long-time philosophy of ‘ If it ain ’ t broke , don ’ t fix it .’ Our commitment to
excellence has remained even as we embark into new markets , such as off-road .”
It was Stroud who began the hiring of a number of women to produce his products . “ As we have known for a while , but have really come to understand somewhat even more ,” begins Anita , “ the skill of sewing tends to lend itself to a female workforce . However , we recently interviewed a male for a sewing position . So , it ’ s definitely not a female vs . male scenario , but more of a specific level of skillset that we desire .
“ As far as the attributes that best describe those women ,” adds Anita , “ it ’ s one of a caring philosophy , not only about our product , but each other and this company . I believe that this is also why each have such a large average of years with the company and we experience such a low turnover rate . The longest tenured position is held by Olympia Amador , who has been with Stroud for 22 years , with the average employee having
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Issue 176