Tradesman Cathy Heying
Makes a Positive Impact
Nominated by: Wendy Wiegmann
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Cathy Heying is an auto mechanic who came to her trade in the most unusual way. Cathy worked for over ten years for a local church and non-profit that served poor and homeless people. Over the years she saw that people who were struggling had a similar thing in common – lack of reliable transportation. Their car would break down, they couldn’t get to work, they would lose their job, and they would often end up in dire situations or homeless. After many years Cathy finally decided that she should stop saying, “someone should do something” and did something herself. Cathy, who always had a love for motorcycles and cars, went to Dunwoody Institute of Technology in Minneapolis and got her degree in auto mechanics (a feat in itself as she was an almost 40 year old woman among mostly 18 year old young men).
Once she completed her degree and worked at a local auto shop for a while, she began the next step: creating a non-profit garage. Over three years ago, The Lift Garage was founded. The Lift serves people in poverty who need low cost car repair. People are referred by local caseworkers, and pay $15 an hour for labor and parts at cost. The Lift has been so successful that they now have two bays and employ two mechanics, in addition to Cathy. And one of the things that Cathy prides herself on is helping others to know more about their cars by offering a basic auto class for groups of people. She also will complete free vehicle inspections for people buying a car so that they don’t wind up at The Lift later. Cathy truly cares about cars and about the people who drive them.
Cathy Heying is very deserving of the Irwin Ultimate Tradesman award. Cathy has helped hundreds of people in our community get back on the road and back to work again.