Even as women continue to gain more recognition and traction in transportation and logistics, it’s still pretty uncommon to see women behind the wheel of a truck or to see more than one or two female executives at a time in company board meetings. But what’s even rarer is to see a woman working in the maintenance shop.
Well, meet one. Twenty-six-year-old Anna Rosas lives in Topeka, KS, and she’s a diesel technician for Ryder System Inc. She’s been working for Ryder for about a year now, and before that — from 2014 to 2017 — she served as a tank mechanic in the U.S. Army.
Originally hailing from North Carolina, Rosas fell in love with trucks long before joining the Army when she used to ride along with her owner-operator brother.
“He did his own repairs, and I would work with him every day,” Rosas explained. “I just had a real knack for doing it and working with him. He taught me as much as he knew. Of course, I got back into it when I went into the military and knew it was what I wanted to do when I came out. I learned that I love to work with my hands.”
After her time in the military, Rosas wanted to continue to work as a mechanic, but she wasn’t sure what she was capable of. Then she got a call from Ryder.
“I was used to doing the basics—working with tools and making repairs,” she explained. “It’s been really great. I met a lot of people. I’m treated the same way as everybody else. The people I work with are awesome. I am learning more and more every day. Right now, I am still in the process of learning; the transition from tanks to diesels is a little different.”
Though Rosas noted that working on a tank is more like working on an airplane based on the composition of the engines, she said both involve troubleshooting and working on the basics. However, she is still working on figuring out the inner workings of a diesel engine compared to a tank, she added.
And part of that desire to constantly learn, especially from the longtime industry veterans, is what keeps Rosas in the business.
“I enjoy the feeling of making something work that didn’t work,” she explained. “To be honest, I love meeting all the customers. They come in distraught and their truck is broken down, and I love the feeling of fixing that problem for them as quickly as I can. I feel like I am making a difference to them.”
“The guys that I work with are willing to teach me and help me out,” Rosas added. “That really helps a lot. If I didn’t have that, it would be a lot harder. That’s what motivates me and keeps me going.”
As for other women considering trucking or working as a diesel technician as a career choice, Rosas urges them to go for it and not be afraid to ask questions.
“Don’t be afraid of it,” she stressed. “I believe if you’re doing the hard work and treat people respectfully, then it doesn’t matter where you’re going to go. They’re going to accept you. If you have questions, just do what I did and ask people what it’s like. Talk to someone personally. Maybe find another female mechanic and ask them one-on-one questions about what it’s like. It’s not as intimidating as some people make it out to be.”