FIRST FEMALE CATERPILLAR DIESEL FIELD MECHANIC IN ALASKA
“I’ve always thought that whatever you choose to do, you should do it all the way. Why not go big?”
Photo courtesy of Heidi Lynn
A woman raised to be confident in her own skills and common sense, Boyle early on determined the way for her to make money and have job security was training in an industry with a high demand for skilled workers. In less than a year and a half, Boyle graduated from the Diesel Technician program at Clark College, Vancouver, Washington with a 3.99 GPA.
Using her born-this-way mechanical talent and a DYI attitude, Boyle sought out the highest-paying Cat dealership in the country which happed to be in Juneau. Boyle called the branch manager, interviewed, and within a week was a Cat field mechanic living and working in Alaska.
Her career and adventures had begun.
She’s worked with guys named ‘Two Stabs’, fixed everything from a tug boat to an excavator, teaches an occasional course on alternating current theory, and is fine with accepting salmon, wild mushrooms, or caribou jerky as payment for her mechanical work.
As far as being a woman in a dirty-fingernail man’s job? Boyle says she’s been greeted by customers who were irate to see a woman arrive for the job. “They’d say, ‘Are you kidding me? I’m losing $150,000 a day and they send me a girl?’”
The job usually ended not only with a successful repair, but an apology like this from the client: ‘I’m sorry I doubted you.’
“It’s only a surprise to the rest of the world that I’m successful,” Boyce said confidently, “it’s not a surprise to me at all.”