Look around the shop at any RDO Equipment Co. store. What are you likely to see? Equipment, tools, and service technicians – in particular, male service technicians, right?
It’s uncommon to see females in heavy equipment technician roles. In fact, a 2015 Catalyst report shows women make up just 1.5% of the total workforce in two major categories that include diesel engine specialists and heavy equipment technicians.
These statistics probably aren’t shocking, but it might surprise you to learn that RDO Equipment Co. currently has three female Service Technician Interns in the Access Your Future Program: Jessi Barron, Kenzie Lako, and Summer Shy.
Not only are female Service Technicians rare to begin with, RDO Equipment Co. has never had three enrolled in AYF at the same time, since the program began in 2003. While their circumstance is unique, what really makes these three interns so noteworthy is their natural talent, enthusiasm for equipment, and the progress each has achieved in the program so far.
Jessi attends Universal Technical Institute in Dallas. Five days a week, she shadows one of the lead technicians at the Irving store where, according to Rob Duckett, Service Advisor, she has the opportunity to work on some of the most challenging and complex projects.
“We put her to the test often, giving her tough projects, and she’s picking things up well,” he said. Duckett also pointed out another asset Jessi brings to the team – her personality – saying, “When you have a building full of guys, they stay to themselves and don’t chat. She’s very outgoing, always laughing, and brings a lighter air to the shop.”
Upon graduation from North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton in May, Kenzie plans to join the Moorhead team full-time. Growing up around tractors has come full-circle for Kenize, as she spent her internship at the Moorhead store working on everything from small John Deere lawn tractors all the way up to larger equipment.
After hearing about RDO Equipment Co. from a fellow student at Central Arizona College, Summer Shy did a little research and became even more interested when she discovered first-year students were eligible for the AYF program. Today she works at the Chandler store. While she spends most of her time working with other technicians, Kenn Franklin, Store Manager, says she already has begun taking the lead on some of her own jobs.
“There have been jobs where, she may have a technician watching over and helping her, but she has started on her own,” he said. “She’s picking up quickly and has already gained the respect of her team members.”
Fitting into the team is especially exciting for Summer, as she said one of her favorite things about RDO Equipment Co. – and the Chandler store in particular – is that it feels like a family.
In addition to a Service Program, the AYF program also includes each a Sales and Parts path.