MERRIAM, Kan. — Stevie McRoberts is the only female auto technician at JoCo Auto.
She’s been in the male-dominated industry for the past three years, and is used to being the only the woman in the shop.
“I've never actually worked hands-on with another woman. One day, I hope to. That would be awesome,” McRoberts said.
She said her love for cars started when she was 16.
“My dad bought me the coolest Jeep Wrangler, and it had a couple problems with it, so I would tinker with it,” McRoberts said.
She said at first, she was a bit nervous.
“I was just getting out of school. I landed my first job in a shop and it was more than first-day nerves - it was I'm going to be the only girl in the shop, what's it going to be like?” McRoberts said. “But I got there and everything was just fine.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 2 percent of auto technicians were women in 2016.
“I mean heck 15, 20 years ago, it was just unheard of,” JoCo Auto Owner Alan Heriford said. “I would've been shocked if somebody would've come up to me and said 'Hey, you know I know a female who's looking for a technician job.' I'm not shocked now.”
And they’re stamping out any fears that may stop by.
“I think probably definitely there's still that stereotype that there may be someone who may be upset to know that there as a female working on their car but we don't play that here,” Heriford said.
McRoberts never let intimidation stall her passion for cars.
“Don't quit when you want to, and if you love it, don't stop,” McRoberts said.
McRoberts said she hopes to pave the way for future girls interested in becoming auto technicians.
She said she plans on opening her own female garage called Babes Automotive in the near future.