Women Techs Rock: Volvo tech Clary Bellino proved the naysayers wrong

This technician spotlight is published as part of TechForce Foundation’s diversity initiatives. Help us find other women technicians to highlight in Women Techs Rock. Get started at TechForce.org/WomenTechStories


 

Women Techs Rock Highlight

Name: Samantha “Clary” Bellino
Employer: Volvo
Age: 24
Location: Bellevue, WA
School: UTI Dallas, followed by Volvo manufacturer’s program

 

Who is Clary Bellino?

Clary Bellino knows what it takes to build success. After graduating from the Dallas campus of Universal Technical Institute (UTI) with a 4.0 GPA and a 97% attendance rate, Clary’s hard work and determination allowed her to choose any manufacturer’s program she wanted. Volvo was the lucky program to receive her efforts, and quickly she was off to Phoenix, AZ to train in Volvo’s technical service program.

After completing the Volvo training program, Clary crossed the country to take her first dealership service job at a small Volvo dealership in Pennsylvania. Not challenged by the oil change work she mainly carried out at the dealership, Clary set her sights higher. She began to participate in a corporate network of other women technicians within Volvo, expanding her professional network. This networking would pay off when another technician in the Volvo program mentioned the career opportunities at her own dealership.

“…Clary knew she was taking a huge leap but now feels that it was completely worth it
as she has found a career that fits her skills, motivations, and ambitions.”

All Clary needed was the right connection, and after a phone interview with the service manager at the new dealership, Clary was hired on the spot. She was such an outstanding candidate, she was able to negotiate relocation assistance and help her roommates find jobs at the dealership as porters. Once again, Clary drove all the way across the country, this time heading westward to Washington State.

Having zero experience with the area, Clary knew she was taking a huge leap but now feels that it was completely worth it as she has found a career that fits her skills, motivations, and ambitions. At her new Volvo dealership in Bellevue, WA, Clary is now a trusted member of the service team and continues to receive plenty of challenging work that makes her feel productive and well-placed.

 

Q & A:

What have you learned since working?

“Unless you have been at it for 10 years, you have to ask questions, but men make it sound like they know it all. You can’t be afraid to ask questions about what you don’t know.”

 

Are there different rules for men vs women?

“YES! We must show more certifications and more knowledge and to make it. It seems that the industry assumes a man knows how to do it all and his training and preparation don’t seem to matter as much.”

 

How do you move past the frustrating times?

“I remember the times when people said I couldn’t do it, and it energizes me to show them all that I can, I will, and I do!”

 

How did you get into this career?

“Did it out of pure spite. I had a few friends who were techs. In high school I wanted to be able to take care of my own car and keep myself moving so I would ask my tech friends who would tell me what to do. And I would do it! So I learned a few things. But everyone said I couldn’t do it. It was a mistake and my “I will prove you wrong” side took over. So, I did it out of spite.”

 

What would you tell other women considering this profession?

“You’re not there to make friends, you’re there to make a paycheck and it doesn’t matter what others think. If you keep your head down and stand up for yourself, you will surpass the men or others who don’t have the confidence and didn’t take advantage to learn more as they went. Women don’t stand up for themselves because they aren’t taught to. Some women must first unlearn what they think they know to become confident enough to stand up for themselves. I had to relearn that I am a human and not just a pretty face. In fact, I am a capable human!”

 

What mantra do you use when things get challenging?

“You’re here, you’ve done all of this so far so why stop now. My 16-year-old self would have thought I am dumb for trying this. I didn’t come from a great family background. I thought I would be dead by 18 or going nowhere as an adult. I had no family support at first. I was a girly girl from way back, but my dad saw something in me as I matured and helped me move each step of the way. Because he wanted to be part of the story! He even drove my toolbox across the country!”

 

What is your biggest career goal?

“After getting as high up as I can at a dealership, I would like to open my own dealership or service shop.”

 

What is your dream form of transportation?

Clary describes a wide range of dream cars, from Hyundai Velosters, to Dodge Challenger Demons, to a classic Hemi ‘Cuda
But like so many other technicians, Clary continues to take care of her 16 year-old, 190,000 mile car, affectionately named Eleanor Rigby. It has criss-crossed the country more than once and shows no signs of slowing down.

 


 

Women Techs Rock: Shop owner Bethaney Bowman’s advice for women looking to get their start

This technician spotlight is published as part of TechForce Foundation’s diversity initiatives. Help us find other women technicians to highlight in Women Techs Rock. Get started at TechForce.org/WomenTechStories


Technician: Bethaney Bowman
Employer: Owner, Gear Jammers
Age: 35

Who is Bethaney Bowman?

Bethaney’s legacy as a leader in the automotive industry started from an early age, with a role model at home. Her own mother was the first woman to graduate from Edison Tech School in upstate New York, setting an example for Bethaney that she could do whatever she set her mind to, even if she had to be the first woman to do it.

Like so many other car enthusiasts of the time, Bethaney’s parents were avid drag racers, and made sure they passed this down to Bethaney. Bethaney and her father built her very own junior dragster from scratch at the young age of 8, and she continued to compete in it for years. This experience of tinkering with her dad sowed the seeds that she would build a career with.

In the 7th grade, Bethaney seized the opportunity to take a small engines class, where she learned an important life lesson. The class required students to break out into pairs, but as a young woman in a male-dominated class, Bethaney ended up working alone. She would often endure bullying for this, even getting spit on while walking to class. Bethaney pushed on despite this, continuing through small engines and electronics classes to make the jump into automotive.

When Bethaney was in the 11th grade, she moved with her family and started at a new school. Once again, she was the only woman in the class. The program allowed for ASE and NATEF certifications, and Bethaney seized the opportunity as one of only 5 students in the NATEF program.

In what she describes as the largest impact on her automotive career, Bethaney met an extraordinary automotive instructor, who was able to provide valuable 1-on-1 instruction due to the small class size. Bethaney continues to keep in touch with this instructor, who is still teaching today.

After high school, Bethaney set off for the University of Northern Ohio (UNOH), with the goal to graduate with zero debt. This required Bethaney to keep a grueling schedule, working from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm as a waitress, automotive lube tech, and any other job necessary before attending class from midnight to 6:00 am. Bethaney describes that she survived the ordeal with energy drinks, Oreos, and sheer determination.

Bethaney would even meet her now-husband at UNOH over some friendly competition over who had the better truck. This casual banter would blossom into a once-in-a-lifetime romance for Bethaney. Her husband went down a diesel tech career path, as Bethaney remained focused on the automotive side.

At the start of her career, Bethaney worked for Jiffy Lube and Firestone but quickly decided that the fast turnaround of these organizations was not how she envisioned her career. Bethaney pivoted to dealership work hoping to find stability but would be tripped up by an employer that was struggling to make its sales goals. Always remaining flexible and open to trying new things, Bethaney landed at ProCharger, building the company’s namesake superchargers, giving her valuable experience with a stable schedule and pay.

However, Bethaney would begin to feel the monotony of a traditional 9-5 job, ultimately leaving ProCharger and becoming pregnant with her first child. After a year-long stint as a fitness instructor, Bethaney was drawn back into her automotive passion after the birth of her second child, building high-performance engines for Tristar. Like many can relate, Bethaney and her husband found themselves moving around a lot and decided that it was time to build roots and develop a sustainable long-term plan.

During this process, Bethaney had come to understand that she and her husband had gained enough joint knowledge to start their very own business. Around the birth of their third child, Bethaney and her husband were able to make that dream a reality, starting Gear Jammers as a mobile mechanic business.

Eventually, they would find shop space, servicing diesel over-the-road trucks as well as autos. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gear Jammers pivoted back to mobile work, feeling that it was the strongest aspect of their thriving business. This helped free up Bethaney to take up a new challenge–to become a super mom, managing three kids and her busy home life while working within her passion field.

Q&A

Q: What are some of the challenges of being a female tech that you want to alert others to and start a dialogue for improvement?
A: “Finding a balance in life is always a challenge. You must decide what’s important to you and set your priorities with your own guide in mind. But if you are going to do the job, do it right and do it well.”

Q: Who influences you in your work?
A: “Bogi Lateiner and Faye Hadley from All Girls Garage. They remind me that women can and
should do what they are passionate about.”

Q: What is changing the stigma for women techs?
A: “New technology. The more and more new technology advances to EV/Hybrid and autonomy the less the job becomes a mechanics job and the more it becomes a technician role. You need to know the basics of an engine as the foundation to any of it but for those who are very technical the computer-based work will take over eventually.”

Q: What needs to happen to get more women in this profession?
A: “Women need to see that they can do it. They can tackle this, or anything, and they need to stop listening to others and listen to themselves. If you like doing puzzles, then you will like this because at the end you get a pretty picture–only these start and impact life.”

Under The Hood | July 2021

TOPICS IN UNDER THE HOOD FOR July 2021:

Kaylynn Simmons, an NHRA professional drag racing clutch specialist | Shell for a ticket giveaway to the Pennzoil 150 | Because I’m a Tech | Volvo Support TechForce with $30k | TechForce scholarship awarded to Kanda | Christian Brothers Automotive 10K in Scholarships | Join TechForce offer no-fee trainings | Luke Walker Technician to Shop Owner | Veterans Scholarship Resources | Join TechForce Fun Contests

Kaylynn Simmons made a career by turning “no” into opportunity

Kaylynn SimmonsMeet Kaylynn Simmons, an NHRA professional drag racing clutch specialist and this week’s Women Techs Rock highlight. Kaylynn heard “no” her entire career, but she didn’t let that stop her. Instead of seeing the nos as the end of the line, Kaylynn chose to see them as opportunities. Hear Kaylynn’s inspiring story here>> and share the story of a woman tech who you know rocks at TechForce.org/WomenTechsStories

 
 
 

Win free tickets to NASCAR race courtesy of Shell

Shell Brickyard Ticket GiveawayTechForce has partnered with Shell for a ticket giveaway to the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard! Enter the giveaway in TechForce’s peer network for your chance to watch the future stars of NASCAR compete on August 14 in one of the most exciting races on the NASCAR Xfinity Series calendar. Enter under “Events” at JoinTechForce.org
 
 
 
 
 

Coming soon: Because I’m a Tech 2021

TF_MKT_BIA_FB_Nissan_200804

“Because I’m a Tech…” is an opportunity for TechForce and our partners to educate and encourage parents and kids to explore the potential and lifelong benefits of hands on careers. We invite you to join us in sharing technicians’ stories from August 23 to September 10, 2021. Tell the world what you’ve been able to achieve “Because I’m a Tech!”

 

 

 

Volvo renews support for TechForce scholarships

Volvo-logo

Volvo recently renewed its commitment to supporting the next generation of technicians with a $30,000 contribution towards TechForce Foundation scholarships. Learn more about Volvo and its commitment to the future here>>

 
 
 
 
 

Meet TechForce scholarship recipient Kanda

Kanda_TechForce scholarship recipient-2

Kanda’s family moved to the U.S. while she was in grade school. Despite the challenges of learning a new language Kanda became the first in her family to graduate high school. Now, thanks to the guidance she received from her high school auto teacher Kanda is studying collision repair and recently earned a TechForce scholarship. Find out how TechForce can help you with your goals here>>

 
 
 

Christian Brothers Automotive: Now supporting TechForce

Christian Brothers Logo_Full Color_CMYK (1)Christian Brothers Automotive has joined the growing list of TechForce supporters with their recent $10,000 donation to TechForce’s scholarship programs. Learn more about Christian Brothers Automotive here>> 

 
 
 

Join TechForce for free training from our partners

Partner training_TechForce peer networkCan you easily explain how an electrical system works? Are you up to date on hybrid engines? Do you know how automated vehicles stay on the road? Stay up to date on advancing vehicle technology with free training from Advance Auto Parts, Cengage, Shell, WD-40, GM and other TechForce partners. Simply join TechForce’s peer network to get started>>

 
 
 
 

Get featured on TechForce social media – Tell us your story

September 2021 FutureTech Tuesday contest-1-1TechForce invites our peer network to tell us how you discovered your love of working with your hands. Was it fixing your bike, playing with blocks or taking shop class? Maybe you helped with a flat tire on a family road trip… Whatever your story, we want to hear it. A few lucky winners will be featured on TechForce social media for September’s FutureTech Tuesday. Enter your story here>>

 
 
 
 

How Luke Walker went from technician to repair shop owner

Luke Walker headshot - Jul2021-2-1Luke Walker knew from a young age that he wouldn’t be happy working behind a desk. Read our latest blog to learn how he turned his love for fixing things into a successful career as a technician and shop owner, and get his advice for anyone interested in working with their hands. Read the blog>>

 
 
 
 
 

Resources for veterans transitioning to civilian technician careers

TFF-veteransTechForce Foundation provides scholarships for veterans interested in technician training. You can find scholarships and additional training at JoinTechForce.org, the only online network built for future and working technicians. Get started>>

Current and former US service members are also eligible for career and technical education resources from the Departments of Defense, Labor, Education and Veteran’s Affairs. Learn more here>>

 
 
 
 

Join in on the fun: Contests in TechForce’s peer network

What celebrity is your ride winner_Betty White the bikeWe asked the TechForce peer network “What celebrity would your ride be, and why?” We received some great answers, and the network’s favorite response was Betty White (left) “because she never dies on me.”

Join in on the fun with contests at JoinTechForce.org

Thank you to all TechForce Foundation partners!

logo lockup 210713Associations: Automotive Communications Council, Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA), American Rental Association (ARA), Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Automotive Service Association (ASA), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), ASE Education Foundation, ASE Training Managers Council (ATMC), Auto Care Association/Women in Auto Care, Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA), Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR), Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence, National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada (NAACC), National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), National Center for Autonomous Technology (NCAT), SkillsUSA, STEAM Sports Foundation and American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC)

Celebrities: Charles Sanville (The Humble Mechanic), Lyn St. James (IndyCar), Bogi Lateiner (Girl Gang Garage), Steve Johnson (Steve Johnson Racing – NHRA) and Julia Landauer (Julia Landauer Racing – NASCAR)

Women Techs Rock: How Sunstate tech Dee Lease learned to follow her heart

This technician spotlight is published as part of TechForce Foundation’s diversity initiatives. Help us find other women technicians to highlight in Women Techs Rock. Get started at TechForce.org/WomenTechStories


A selfie from Sunstate technician Dee Lease

Technician: Dara “Dee” Lease
Employer: Sunstate Equipment
Age: 31

Who is Dee Lease?

Raised by a single mother, Dee Lease understood the importance–and difficulty–of independence from an early age. Like so many other women, Dee had to walk down many different paths to find her way in this world. To start building a stable career and future, Dee was convinced by her peers to attend nursing school. Quickly Dee found that she was not following her heart and decided that nursing school was not a good fit for her skills and interests.

However, Dee always was a tinkerer, and she recognized that she had the right mindset and aptitude for technical work. More importantly, Dee came to appreciate that what she truly wanted was the sense of independence that comes from being able to understand how things work, and how to fix those same things when they stop working. Unfortunately, Dee’s high school did not offer much in the way of technical education, so Dee had to find it elsewhere.

Once again going against the advice and pressures from those around her, Dee would join the United States Navy to try and forge her own path through her life. Despite concerns from her mother, Dee finally found an environment in which she thrived, as a technician in the Navy’s FA/18 fighter jet program. Driven to continue furthering her education and life experiences, Dee learned about the G.I. Bill program that would provide the tuition assistance to offer her a chance at a professional education.

Through her research into her educational future, Dee came across Universal Technical Institute (UTI). Dee felt that automotive work fit well with her mechanical interests and aptitude, her military experience, and her continued journey for personal independence. At UTI, Dee began taking Ford-specific classes, believing that it would provide a stable future and an abundance of opportunities. However, while in school, she met a recruiter for Sunstate Equipment, a heavy equipment rental company.

Dee noticed how happy the recruiter was to be working for Sunstate, and the glowing reviews he gave the company and its work environment. Once again following her gut instinct, Dee interviewed with Sunstate and was hired immediately. Dee now works as a diesel and heavy equipment technician with Sunstate. To Dee, when things get difficult or out of her comfort zone, that’s when she knows she needs to continue to push forward to grow as a person.

Dee knows her profession is tough on women, and she continues to push through the resistance she faces, choosing instead to see the upside and turn difficult situations into learning moments and to gather motivation. Dee refused to become mired in the negatives.

Dee has found a life work balance that she understands not all others get to enjoy. She is in the process of adopting a one-year-old and looks forward to sharing the many life lessons she has learned. The most important lesson being to follow your passions as you grow older.

Dee’s next major career goal is to learn as much as possible about as much different heavy equipment and machinery so that she may further her training with Sunstate to become an equipment and technician trainer.

Q&A

Q: What would you tell other women considering this profession?
A: Dee believes the educational foundation is key, and that other women should look for where their passion lies. School should amplify their interests and advance their knowledge. Dee continued to learn things even when she thought she felt they were challenging, and now she can do things like read schematics and work with electronics as well as any other technician.
She believes it is important for technicians to continue to find opportunities to learn and advance their training. “Technology is going to advance, so you need to advance with it.”

Q: What mantra do you use when things get challenging?
A: “Fear is the false evidence appearing real. The acronym for F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real.”
While Dee overcame challenges and plenty of negative feedback when choosing her career, she says she wouldn’t change her path for anything. It has grown her knowledge and confidence in ways she would not have considered prior.

Q: What is your dream form of transportation?
A: Dee dreams of a 1976 Chevrolet squarebody truck someday, but for now will settle for the reliability and safety her Honda Civic affords her–family being first.

TechForce Foundation | Scholarships For Transportation Technicians

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