Female Mechanic Aims To Change Stereotypes One Vehicle At A Time

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jul 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-26 23:27:49-04

A female mechanic in Nashville has aimed to change the common stereotype of what a mechanic looks like.

On a hot, summer, Tuesday afternoon at American Tire Company in Belle Meade, you'll find a number of men working on cars.

"I love working on cars, I like getting dirty," Anas Ahmad, a mechanic said. 

It's definitely dirty, gritty, hard labor and it's not for the faint of heart. "I've seen guys come in and quit after a week," Ahmad added. 

Ahmad has been a mechanic there eight years, starting this week he's helping to train a new employee who happens to be a woman. 

It's Jenella Wilson's second day on the job as the shop's newest mechanic and she's already feeling the pressure to perform. "It's a work out, my arms were hurting so bad yesterday I was like wooh," she laughed.  

Wilson graduated with a degree from Lincoln Tech but found finding an actual job in the industry, as a woman, was going to be tough. At first, she struck out. "Eight different places to the point where I just gave up and found another job," she said. 

Lincoln helped connect her to American Tire Company which is managed by Mike McHenry. He employs a diverse group of  folks from around the world. "You know, I like hard workers," he said. 

That's exactly what Wilson is counting on.

"The work she's doing, it's crazy because I haven't seen anybody do it like this, especially a girl," said Ahmad.

In 2015 the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported that women make up just .3 percent of the maintenance and repair sector.

"What a wonderful thing for a woman to get into in this kind of man's world, all the opportunity really for a woman," customer, Daniel Mallock said. 

Customers seem to be welcoming the change. "A lady said to me it's nice and warming to see a woman working, it was nice to hear that," Wilson said. "The world would be nothing without us so why can't we do something that's challenging for us?"