I got started in my early teens by working summers for a local gravel company. Answering phones was my first job and one day I delivered a message to the truck shop and the mechanic needed a hand… I was absolutely hooked from that day on. I asked to work in the shop and they agreed. After high school I went to tech school at WyoTech because that was where the shop mechanic had gone to school, who became my mentor/hero (still is to this day).
After tech school I got a job for a log hauler and really learned how to apply my school knowledge to real world work. A couple years into that job I was offered a position with the school district. I took it and for the next 11 years I was the only mechanic for the school buses and other various support vehicles. Sadly, there wasn't much room for growth there and with a push from my husband I took the plunge and opened my own shop. I went from a lifetime of HD fleet maintenance to a public sector self-employed thing. This was a huge change.
I have found my niche in the six years I've been open and now specialize in diesel performance. I've completed several major engine overhauls, swaps and high horsepower builds. As of today I am looking at an even more specialized market that has opened up to me: Cummins swaps. I've had the pleasure of finishing a Chummins (k5 blazer with a ve pump cummins). This year I undertook the job of all jobs and am almost done, an almost limitless budget Fummins, an 06 F250 with a P-pump Cummins built for around 800 hp at the wheels, compound turbos, Kelderman adjustable air ride- custom modified for this application, color matched powder coat, wire loom - the whole nine yards. This truck will be my crowning achievement and something I am beyond proud to have built. I have also dabbled in diesel drag racing and have built a Frankenstein of a shop truck...also now in the mid stage of becoming a Fummins as my 6.4 luck just wasn't very good.
I have been fortunate as a woman in this field to have always been treated as an equal, but this is not the case for so many ladies in the industry. Times are changing and more and more women are getting into it and hopefully the tide is turning. My best advice to any young lady starting out is to have a thick skin, make sure you get treated the way you deserve, and learn everything! Never stop learning. Every technician should strive to be the best but as a woman in the field we have a little extra to prove. Do that with knowledge and an undeniable work ethic, work ethic. Also, find a mentor- they're out there and they do not care what parts you're made of as long as you listen and learn. Even better to have several. Ask questions- all of them. Get in there and do it, DO NOT let anyone tell you what you can and can't do- you can do whatever you set your mind and heart to.