NASCAR driver Julia Landauer, a female racer and advocate for women in S.T.E.M., has signed on as an official partner of TechForce Foundation and its FutureTech Success campaign. This industry-wide initiative aims to drive tomorrow’s workforce of transportation technicians by repositioning the image of the profession.
The campaign provides middle- and high-school students and their parents opportunities to experience automotive and motorsports technology and to encourage diverse audiences, including women and people of color, to enter the field.
Bearing the title of “FutureTech Success Ambassador,” Landauer will work with the foundation through media appearances, public service announcements, and fundraising efforts to inform and inspire young, tactile-minded individuals seeking to pursue careers in the field of transportation tech, a mission the accomplished racer is very passionate about. Since graduating from Stanford with a degree in science, technology, and society, Landauer has made it her goal to apply such subjects to the world of racing, and to do everything in her power to involve others in the industry she is so passionate about.
“Some people are a great fit for suit and tie careers and others are built to build — to work with their hands. We are all wired differently,” explains Landauer. “That’s the message TechForce is projecting through FutureTech Success and why I am so excited to be an ambassador of the cause. It is so important for young people to discover early on what they click with, and for their parents and other authority figures to provide them with the tools, opportunities, and support to develop those gifts and build exciting futures.”
As the highest finishing woman in K&N Series history and the only auto racer on this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list, it is safe to say Landauer knows a thing or two about success — and the hard work and dedication it takes to get there. “We should all have an underdog mentality that forces us to stick with it, make it work, and see it through. That’s how you win,” Landauer says. Through her work with TechForce Foundation, Landauer seeks to instill this mentality in today’s youth, encouraging them to pursue greatness both for themselves, and for the industry in which they will become the lifeblood.
Unfortunately, some have had to work a little harder than others to find that success. Historically a white, male dominated field, careers are now more accessible than ever to women and people of color seeking to dive into the world of S.T.E.M. Landauer has held true to her dedication to encouraging diversity and involvement in such careers, utilizing her rising notoriety as a platform for the cause.
“I’ve always been passionate about the intersection of technology, community, and racing,” recalls Landauer. “Everyone has something unique to contribute, and the industry loses out on so much when it’s not inclusive. Women and people of color have as much to give in racing and tech as anyone else, and working together toward innovation only makes us all stronger and better off.”
Landauer describes racing as a team effort, where having the best of the best in your pit can make all the difference.
“Racing is about so much more than just the person behind the wheel,” she explains. “As a driver, you rely pretty heavily on your pit crew technicians to make sure everything is working the way it should. In order to be a great driver, you have to have great techs on your team — limiting the pool of talent you’re pulling from for a crew doesn’t just hurt the industry, it can hurt you.”
Through the FutureTech Success program, TechForce seeks to break down those barriers, equipping each and every child with the information and tools necessary to pursue success in the industry. Landauer’s passion for and experience with this same goal provides invaluable insights to the Foundation, and with the help of her established reputation and platform, will allow TechForce to reach even farther than before, impacting the lives of students across the nation.
“Take one look at Julia’s career and you know exactly what she’s all about,” explains Jennifer Maher, CEO of TechForce Foundation. “She’s driven, she’s talented, and she is absolutely committed to the future of the technician and racing industries. That is exactly the kind of fire TechForce needs to ensure the FutureTech Success initiative reaches its fullest potential. With such a force behind the campaign, great things will be possible for young people who are poised to revolutionize the industry.”