Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Experience: 12 Years
Job Title: Automotive Technician for Hyundai World Rally Test Team

Here at WrenchWay, we are always working to think of new and creative ways to share the knowledge, skill level, and hard work it takes to be an automotive technician. This is why we started our technicians spotlight series. These articles are part of an ongoing series to highlight and promote the technician career — demonstrating to kids, parents, and teachers how becoming a technician is a rewarding career path that can be lucrative and open the door to many opportunities within the industry.

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Heather H., Automotive Technician, Hyundai World Rally Test Team to discuss what she loves about this industry, why she is passionate about her career, and her experience as a woman in the industry.

Heather’s Story

Heather is a great example of the intelligent and hardworking people we have in this industry. Her love for the automotive industry started when she was in high school. Her boyfriend at the time took her to an autocross event and let her co-drive his car. Believe it or not, as a first time driver, she beat him. From then on, Heather knew she had just found her new passion.

After the race, she sold her SUV and bought her Subaru. Starting off, she didn’t have a lot of knowledge on cars.

“I didn’t know anything about cars, and I had a blown motor. I was forced to learn how to do an entire swap, and that’s kind of how it started. I realized I liked it, so I decided to go to tech school.”
Heather H., Automotive Technician, Hyundai World Rally Test Team

Six months after she started school, she got a job working at a Subaru dealership. This is where she learned about rally racing. After six years of being a dealership mechanic, Heather decided she needed a change. She took a leap of faith and joined a new career path in Motor Sport. She got a job with Vermont Sport car, which is the Subaru Rally Team for the USA. Her job allows her to work in Germany for most of the year as that is where the team is based.

The Love for the Industry

Heather quickly fell in love with the feeling of success after you diagnose a problem on a car. The feeling she would get after you finally figured something out was a feeling she would constantly chase. Heather felt important knowing she could confidently fix a problem that others could not.

“There’s a lot of lack of knowledge about operating a vehicle that makes your customer upset. If you are able to bridge that gap as a mechanic between you and the customer, it will really help that relationship and the way people view mechanics.”
Heather H., Automotive Technician, Hyundai World Rally Test Team

Heather wants people to understand how much falls back on the technician when something goes wrong. A lot of the responsibility of the problem always gets blamed on the technician. Educating people on the problems of their car is something she values. Closing the confusion or frustration gap between technicians and customers allows a learning opportunity for everyone.

“I love working on cars, and I think it’s really cool when you get to help inspire and give direction for other people on what to do and how to go about doing it.” Heather H., Automotive Technician, Hyundai World Rally Test Team

Working as a Female in a Male-Dominated Industry

It’s no secret there are more men in this industry than women.

For the most part, Heather had a great experience as a woman working in the automotive industry. She was respected by her coworkers and felt she was included as part of the family.

“I think working directly with the boys they’re a little weary at first, but once they see you’re capable of doing the job, you’re just like one of them. You’re a part of the family.”
Heather H., Automotive Technician, Hyundai World Rally Test Team

After working at a shop for a few years, Heather decided to take a leap of faith into a different career path in motor sports.

“I think you’re going to find a lot more women in the motorsport world than on road cars and dealerships because there is a common goal: It’s to do the best that you can, and they don’t care if you’re male or female.”
Heather H., Automotive Technician, Hyundai World Rally Test Team

Advice for the Future Generation

This is an industry that is always changing. It’s important that young technicians have a mentor or someone they can look up to in the industry. No one is going to be perfect, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Heather realized even the most skilled technicians in the shop are going to make a mistake every now and then.

It’s important as a technician to stand your ground and be confident. This is an industry that can be quite challenging. Take advantage of those hard times and make it a learning opportunity.

“You’re going to have bad days, and I think having something that gives you motivation and that little push to keep you going is really important.”
Heather H., Automotive Technician, Hyundai World Rally Test Team

Watch the Full Interview

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