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Wrenching Women Wednesday with Katie French, featuring Nicole Shelby Porter

Each week for Wrenching Women Wednesday, we focus our efforts on shining a light on Women in Automotive and their journey’s in automotive. This week, we would like to introduce Nicole Shelby Porter, Wyotech Diesel Technology Graduate turned Instructor.

This is Nicole’s story

Let’s start from the beginning shall we? I grew up restoring muscle cars with my dad- did a lot of paint and body work. I knew from a very young age (basically as far back as I can remember), that I wanted to be a mechanic. My first engine rebuild was a 2- stroke Suzuki 80. I continued riding and fixing dirt bikes through junior high and high school. I also restored a ‘68 Camaro and helped my Dad with a ‘72 Ford truck, a couple of Toyota pickups and a ‘68 Chevelle SS. I learned enough about paint and body work to know I didn’t want to do that. My dad wasn’t very supportive of my dream to be a mechanic- he told me I had to get a 4-year degree. So I worked at an Auto Zone for years while going to school part-time for engineering. I hated every minute of it. I applied for jobs everywhere for 3 years, and no one would hire me or even interview me until PACCAR. I started working for PACCAR as a Shop Assistant mostly detailing trucks, replacing batteries, and changing oil- but I loved it. I dropped out of college, packed all my stuff up in the back of my Toyota pickup at 23 and moved to Laramie, WY. I started at Wyotech in the Diesel Technology program and my specialty was Advanced Diesel. Then they decided to add a class called D.A.T.E (Diesel Advanced Technology Education). I was 1-of-12 students in the school to be accepted into the class, so I did that. I graduated with Honors, got a job with a Volvo dealer, and moved to Minnesota. I worked there for 4 years and was the first female Volvo Master Tech. I went from there to a fleet where I mostly worked on natural gas trucks and did some refrigeration as well. During the 4 years I was there, I ended up training a lot of the interns who worked there and decided I liked teaching. I decided to accept a position at Wyotech as an Instructor since February of this year. I’m currently teaching Engine Management Systems and Refrigeration.
For all the young ladies out there interested in pursuing a career in the automotive industry- work hard. There will always be people who tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t work in automotive. If you have a passion for this, then you’re capable of doing amazing things. Don’t let anyone ever put that fire out.

-Nicole Shelby Porter

About Katie French

Katie French, founder of Wrenching Women Wednesday, is an Automotive Repair Expert at RepairPal. Her love for the automotive industry began at a young age learning how to fix bicycles and driving around the neighborhood in a pink Power Wheels Jeep. To pursue a career in the field, Katie attended NEIT for Advanced Automotive Technology out in East Greenwich, RI. Since graduating from the automotive program, Katie has worn many hats in the auto industry over the years, and has treated every day as a school day. She currently is working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Management with a concentration in Fleet Management from Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, MO. In her free time, Katie enjoys empowering women in skilled trades, Jeep builds, and spending time with her family.

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