Women Techs Rock Grantee Jinelee Achieving Technician Career Dreams

This post was originally published October 24, 2022. The following is new information added April 25, 2023.

From 0-60: Jinelee is Reaching New Heights

Jinelee’s journey to becoming a tech started in 2020 with a broken-down car on the side of the road.

How a broken-down truck got Jinelee going

As she sat stuck for three hours because of an overheated engine, Jinelee felt the dread of not knowing what to do without the money to fix it.

Days later Jinelee took matters into her own hands. Thanks to YouTube, Google and instruction from a local shop she was able to get her truck back on the road! It was in this experience that Jinelee found her calling.

“I felt so proud of myself, I felt accomplished… Never in my life would I have thought this was something I’d like. I had never tried it, but now I feel as if it is my calling.”

Where Jinelee is now, three years later

Jinelee recently graduated from her Mercedes-Benz technician training program (pictured right), and has sinced been hired by Mercedes-Benz!

From a novice just three years ago to a professional technician today, she’s amazed by how far she has come in such a short amount of time. The challenges throughout her journey didn’t stop her, and they show us what’s possible when people come together to give others a little help along with way. 

Jinelee received a number of TechForce scholarships and grants throughout her journey. That support helped make it possible for Jinelee to continue pursuing, and ultimately achieve her incredible accomplishments.

TechForce scholarship recipient Jinelee poses for a photo at the graduation ceremony for her Mercedes-Benz technician training.

The original post from October 24, 2022 is continued below.

Meet Jinelee, Women Techs Rock Grant Recipient

Women Techs Rock grant recipient Jinelee discovered her passion for a tech career during the pandemic, and is already well on her way to achieving her new dream of owning an all-women’s garage!

How Jinelee got interested in a tech career

Jinelee Galindez examining an engine while studying for her tech career.
In the early part of the pandemic Jinelee experienced some medical problems that put her on unpaid leave. During that time, she says, “I just started working on my own truck, fixing and replacing parts. I began to spend my nights watching YouTube videos on random mechanic work, and found myself looking for things I could fix on my truck and what I could do to make it look and run better. Slowly, working on my truck dragged me out of an unhealthy place. Fixing my truck took me to another world where I felt like I was dancing and singing. Everything seemed so positive. Never in my life would have I thought this was something I would like. I had never tried it. But now I feel as if it is my calling… I have found a new skill that I love. Automotive!”

Early signs a tech career was the right fit

Looking back on her life, Jinelee admits there were signs that a technician career was in the cards for her.

“When I think about the things I used to do when I was little or even as an adult, it makes sense. I used to love fixing my bicycle and my friends’ bicycles, rollerblades and skateboards. I loved to put puzzles together and build random things out of anything I could find. As I got older, I still found myself doing similar things, such as building or putting together furniture. Using my hands to repair, build and just get my hands dirty has always been my thing and I NEVER realized it until I started working on my truck.”

Passion powers progress towards tech career

Jinelee says she is amazed how far she has come in such a short time, and she has big dreams for her future.

“I want my own car shop. A very girly shop. I want the equipment to be bright, fun colors, and I want it to have only women mechanics!”

Life's challenges inform Jinelee's perspective

Jinelee has overcome many very difficult personal challenges, but despite this, she says, “[My] focus [is] on people’s efforts. I like to make others feel positive, empowered, worthy, appreciated, and supported. I am one that can communicate encouragement to help people move forward but also hold them accountable in a loving way when tough love is needed. It’s important to inspire one another, challenge one another in reaching our full potential and celebrate each other for our successes.”

She is elated to have received the Women Techs Rock grant. Jinelee has worked incredibly hard to discover and be able to pursue her passion for a tech career. She is extremely grateful for this generous gift that will let her follow her passion, and hopefully inspire future women technicians!

If Jinelee’s story inspired you, we invite you to learn more about a technician career at https://techforce.org/our-work/#career-exploration


Meet the Brienne Davis Memorial Scholarship recipients, two future NASCAR technicians

Meet the Fall 2022 Recipients of the Brienne Davis Memorial Scholarship

TechForce Foundation has awarded the Brienne Davis Memorial Scholarship to Kiree and Savannah, two students studying to pursue careers as NASCAR technicians. The scholarship is awarded annually in memory of NASCAR official Brienne Davis.

TechForce had an opportunity to speak with both women, and learn more about their interest in automotive and motorsports, and their plans for a career in NASCAR.

Kiree is breaking barriers as a NASCAR student

Kiree says, “Growing up I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be until high school. I always wanted to be challenged and the automotive field allows me to learn something new every day. I am willing to put everything into learning more about every car field, especially NASCAR.”

Kiree Gonzales at her high school graduation

She recognizes that as a woman, she will be a minority in the automotive field, and even more so in NASCAR. She says, “The automotive industry also lacks females and I believe that women have a big part in this world, but are hardly ever seen.”  She has experienced the difficulty of being a woman in the automotive field firsthand, as an employee of an automotive shop. She says, “It wasn’t the best because I was pushed and I was misjudged. Not many people were willing to let me do much because I am female. However, most of the time I would hide in the background, and as soon as they left I would work on my car and they would not suspect anything once they received it.” Kiree did eventually leave this place of employment, partially because she felt she was underestimated due to her gender. However, this has definitely not dissuaded her from trying to pursue an automotive career!

As a future female technician, Kiree was ecstatic to receive the NASCAR/Brienne Davis Memorial Tuition Scholarship. Kiree shares, “I would love to inspire other women and little girls to do whatever they want and let them know that anything is possible.” 

The scholarship will make it possible for Kiree to finish her education, and then start her career as both a technician and a mentor to young women interested in the field.

Savannah has a passion for motorsports

Savannah Seely looking over the top of race car.

Savannah says, “My passion is Automotive Engineering, specifically a NASCAR career. I’ve chosen this as my dream career for many reasons… the work we put into the race car so it can travel at high speeds bring happiness and the feeling of accomplishment that I have never gotten from anything else…. It is a science to work on these cars. The more I work on them, the more I learn and understand. I love getting into the grit of things, figuring out the problem, and working with my body to achieve what the project needs… [and] I love a challenge! I am passionate about the career I chose to pursue, as it is what I love.”

Savannah continues, “I am specifically interested in NASCAR because it is a very important part of my life. I grew up with it, would watch it with my dad, and I help work on his race car with him two times a week and we race on Saturdays. When we race, I am a part of my dad’s pit-crew. I change tires, and adjust camber, tow, wedge, temperature and pressure of tires after a practice or race. I thoroughly enjoy this work.  Adjusting the cars’ travel so that we can turn left for an hour. There are so many things that go into building a race car and every part of it makes me feel like I can do anything. I want to be able to race my own car one day, that is my goal. Yes, NASCAR is turning left for hours on end. That’s what the world sees. Unless you are a part of it, you wouldn’t understand the mechanics that go into it. Knowing everything the car needs. When things go wrong, knowing what to do. I love the technical pieces, the speed, the adrenaline rush and the emotions it makes me feel when I am out there working on the car. To say I love NASCAR is an understatement.”

Savannah is obviously passionate about NASCAR, and she is so thankful to be a recipient of the NASCAR/Brienne Davis Memorial Tutorial Scholarship. She is beyond grateful that the scholarship will enable her to continue to pursue her life’s passion!

Apply for TechForce Scholarships

Pay for school with scholarships, not loans. TechForce scholarships & grants cover more than just tuition. Whether you need help with the cost of tools, books, transportation, or even emergencies, TechForce can help. Learn more at TechForce.org/Scholarships


Women Techs Rock: Josie Whitlock proves the value of good mentorship

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

A square graphic, split down the middle. The left half has Josie Whitlock's quote "Be the reason someone smiles today." The left half has a photo of Josie Whitlock at work next to a vehicle's engine.Name: Josie Whitlock
Employer: Matt’s Automotive Service Center
Location: Fargo, North Dakota
School: North Dakota State College of Science


Who is Josie Whitlock?

In any career – or any endeavor, for that matter – a great support system is key to success. Fortunately, Josie Whitlock has had the support of friends, family, and instructors throughout her education and career as an Automotive Technician.

Josie’s first taste of an automotive career was in high school, when she worked in a tire shop. While she loved her time there, she envisioned a career in the military, which unfortunately wasn’t in the cards. Recalling the auto shop classes she enjoyed in high school, she enrolled at North Dakota State College of Science, where she found a community of like-minded and supportive instructors, administrators, and peers, devoid of the sexism that so many up-and- coming women techs experience.

Graduating with an Associate of Arts and Sciences in Automotive Technology, Josie started her career in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, before moving to Fargo, North Dakota, and Matt’s Automotive Service Center. And what a great move it was.

At Matt’s, she’s found an owner and mentor who is not only a master mechanic who leads in-house training, but who also makes respect a top priority. He even goes so far as to do personality testing before hiring, to ensure that the shop remains a drama-free and support-heavy environment. And when there’s a customer who refuses to have their car serviced by a woman? Matt sends them down the road. It’s support like this that makes Josie believe that those old stereotypes are changing. She’s worked with women service writers, lube techs, and full-service techs, and works among a group that fully accepts her and her role in the industry. In fact, applications to “Women Techs Rock!” were submitted by most, if not all, of her male co-workers.

That’s the kind of support to build a career on.


Q & A:

Where do you want to take your career?

“I want to learn more about electronics to be able to do advanced diagnostics and recalibration of safety systems.”


What is your near- and long-term vision for yourself?

“I want to stay with Matt’s. They’re family-oriented with great growth potential and plenty of ongoing training to stay current.”


Was you family behind your career choice?

“Mom wasn’t sure if this was a good choice and thought a four-year program would be best. She’s a lawyer. But after I got started and she said that I was thriving and doing well, she changed her mind.”


What advice would you give a young woman?

“Find your confidence! Know when to speak up and how to deal with adversity. It’s not something they teach in school and it’s a lesson worth learning young. Also, don’t stir the pot unnecessarily. If you have an issue, try to resolve it on your own first.”


Do you have a personal mantra?

“Be the reason someone smiles today.”



Women Techs Rock: How college grad Hannah Lutrey found her purpose in the world of forklifts

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: Hannah Lutrey
Employer: Doosan Industrial Vehicle America Corporation
Age: 33
Location: Duluth, Georgia
School: Gwinnett Technical College; Randolph College


Technician Hannah Lutrey pictured next her quote, "Just keep going. Deep breath. It's very rewarding."

Who is Hannah Lutrey?

Hannah Lutrey always considered herself a gearhead – a fan of cars and motorcycles, with an interest in how things work – but she never imagined that she’d find herself working in the world of forklifts.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and aiming for a career of helping others, like many of us, Hannah found that life has a funny way of steering toward another direction. She found herself working as a warranty administrator for PAI Industries in Suwanee, Georgia. She was – as she says – “thrown into the deep end,” working as part of the failure analysis process, writing denial reports, and working with suppliers to make product improvements based on claim discoveries. However, she soon grew tired of not fully understanding what techs were talking about.

The solution? Gwinnett Technical College and the Heavy Duty Diesel Service Technician Certification Program. With an employer that allowed her time to go to school and an instructor who was hugely supportive (they’re still in touch), she was not only the first woman to apply for the program, but also the first to graduate with a 4.0 GPA. And, she’s proud to say, without any student debt.

Looking to expand her career beyond what PAI could offer, she was introduced to Doosan Industrial Vehicle America Corporation at a career fair and was hired as a Product Support Representative – the first woman to hold a tech position there. Now, she helps technicians troubleshoot problems in the field, provides support to regional representatives, and assists with warranty parts returns and analysis. While she looks forward to working more closely with dealers in a regional position, she loves her job, thanks to the supportive people she gets to work with. And yes, because she’s a specialist in the installation for specific forklift parts, she still gets to pick up a wrench now and again.


Q & A:

Do people give you a hard time because you’re a woman? 

“Once, a man called for tech support and wouldn’t speak to me. I don’t dwell on it though. I won’t let a fool affect what I do.”


What would you tell other women considering this profession?

“It’s very rewarding, but you have to really love it to make it. Is Doosan ready for more women techs? Yes! We hear that Cummins engines wants more women on staff because they’re more detail-oriented.”


What mantra do you use when things get challenging?

“Just keep going. Deep breath. You can’t change stupid.”


What is your dream form of transportation?

“A 1930 round-body pickup with a wood bed, a Cummins small-block engine, and Allison automatic transmission. Or a split-windshield Studebaker pickup. Or a 6-speed Mini Clubman.”



Women Techs Rock: How Kimberly turned her military training into a civilian career as a diesel tech

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 Kimberly Lakner standing next to a diesel truck, with the quote "Do what you're passionate about and don't let anyone stop you."Women Techs Rock Highlight

Name: Kimberly Lakner
Employer: Walmart, Shop Service Manager
Location: Florida
School: Marine Corps


Who is Kimberly Lakner?

Kimberly is the shop manager at a Florida-based Walmart Distribution Facility. She started at Walmart 27 years ago as a truck fueler and washer then moved into a technician role and eventually into management. She started her career in the Marine Corps where she received her diesel training.

She likes working for Walmart and moved around when the opportunity was made available. She has been in management since 2002. Her role allows her to occasionally go into the shop to wrench, she enjoys doing diagnostics and research on equipment to help solve issues.

She misses wrenching full time because it allowed her to do something of a solo nature in management, she manages the full workload of the shop. When she was in the Marine Corps, she was accepted as a female in the diesel area. Where she was tasked with a job, and she did the job.

When she left the Marine Corps, she immediately felt the difference in that she had to always work harder to prove herself. Once she built a reputation as a technician who did good work,
she then was getting requested by drivers specifically.

In general, Kimberly believes that as a manager it is her job to identify where help is needed and provide the assistance to make the technician’s job easier for them to understand.


Q & A:

Was there an incident that stuck out in your memory that was a turning point for you in your thinking of yourself as a professional tech?

YES! She asked a supervisor for help with an electronic wiring harness problem. He came over to help but ended up taking over. I had to stand up for myself and say, “Hey I don’t want you to do my job, I want you to teach me how to do my job better’. If I hadn’t stood up, I would have become that tech that men would view as “see, women can’t do it”. That supervisor treated me very differently after that encounter. Not only did I gain his respect, but I proved myself and he then trusted me without question going forward. We still stay in touch, and I still remember that interaction as a defining moment.


What mantra do you use when things get challenging? What would you tell your younger you?

Do what you’re passionate about and don’t let anyone stop you.


Is the stigma of a women technician going away?

No but it is changing. As things evolve to EV and Hybrid it becomes less and less about the grease monkey stigma and more and more about computers and electronics. That changes the stigma. Moving from grease monkey into true technician and maybe into engineer.


What should be done to get more women into the profession?

Start them young and teach women to raise one another up. Women must change from within and share ownership and pride with other women. Start in schools on teaching acceptance and understanding what that really means. It’s ok to partner with others to help you as long as women are standing up for themselves.


What is your dream form of transportation?

Her fun toy is a motorcycle.  Kimberly won’t wrench on any of her own vehicles.




Women Techs Rock: Working on a private collection of vintage cars

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


Riley Mahl working on an engine, next to her quote "Don't give up, I face obstacles but find my path forward."

Women Techs Rock Highlight

Name: Riley Mahl
Employer: Private Collection
Age: 22
Location: Coopersburg, PA
School: Pennsylvania College of Technology


Who is Riley Mahl?

Sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In Riley Mahl’s case, the daughter doesn’t stray far from the father. Understandable when her stay-at-home, chemical engineer dad was the editor for a Studebaker club newspaper and was willing to allow Riley’s mother to name their daughter–in exchange for permission to buy a classic Packard, that is. Riley literally grew up alongside the vintage Packard, leaving a significant imprint as she watched her dad work on it her entire childhood.

In high school, Riley served her community as a volunteer firefighter and water rescuer. Already possessing several practical skills, Riley was naturally skeptical of the merits of a college education, despite her father’s suggestions. They compromised, and Riley attended the technical high school where her father was an automotive instructor to prepare herself to join the workforce. Not wanting to be caught in her father’s shadow, Riley elected to take machining courses for two years instead.

With her firefighting and rescue experience, Riley originally planned on becoming a paramedic, attending classes at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. However, after taking some anatomy classes she found that her passions and ambitions lie elsewhere. Riley was reminded of the auto restoration student who gave her a campus tour and was intrigued. She instantly fell in love with the program, being surrounded by classic cars in class, and learning about automotive history and painting. She even loved that old car smell. Riley finally had an avenue to express her newfound natural ability to troubleshoot and fix things.

Riley was introduced to the curator of a local private car collection through the program, and was even interviewed for a summer internship. When the interviewer saw “Riley” on the application, he wasn’t expecting a young woman, but quickly moved past the initial shock, offering her the position. Over the summer, Riley learned a great deal about vintage automobiles and was taught to work with a high attention to detail, giving her the edge over her peers. Riley became a standout student as a very skilled pupil and the only woman in the program. While there was often headbutting with her male classmates, Riley was able to work past these differences and earn the respect she deserved from the very beginning.

In her own words, “for every great man in automobiles, there was a woman behind him.”


Q & A:

What would you tell your 16-year-old self about standing up for yourself?

“Don’t back down on your opinion. Don’t back down on your values. Learn to deal with the boys’ club mentality. When I started showing them up, the men made life harder, so you must find a way to balance doing your best and managing the male and female rivalry. Think about why the men might be giving you a hard time. Most of the time it’s because they are jealous of your abilities!”


What mantra do you use when things get challenging?

“Don’t give up. I face obstacles but find my path forward. If I struggle, I look for a solution, and if I can’t find one it is okay to ask for help. We [women] may be more physically challenged, so sometimes you have to ask for help. If you fall off the horse, dust yourself off and keep going. There is no such thing as a stupid question.”


What is your dream form of transportation?

“Ride a horse everywhere! It’s just a different kind of horsepower.”

Riley also dreams of inheriting her father’s 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood, which belonged to her grandfather.



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: 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.”

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: 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.

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"By connecting students, instructors, industry pros and working techs, the TechForce Foundation provides unilateral support to the transportation industry’s technician recruiting needs… The administration of our Scholarships by the TechForce team has been instrumental in delivering us with a successful method to gain interest from qualified candidates as well as provide our students with additional assistance to complete their education."
Tony Farr
Ford Technical Programs Manager