Shifting Gears


In celebration of International Women’s Day, Joe George, president of Cox Automotive Mobility, and Grace Huang, president of Cox Automotive Inventory Solutions, chatted with four female technicians within Fleet Services by Cox Automotive and Manheim, redefining the traditionally male-dominated automotive industry landscape. Their stories are not just about overcoming gender barriers; they’re about passion, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.


Level II Mobile Trailer Repair Technician, Fleet Services

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George: You’ve built a career across various facets of the transportation industry, particularly in trailer mechanics. How did your journey begin? 

Stevens: My journey started in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, at Charlotte Amalie High School with a foundation in Auto Body and Welding. This passion led me to further my education at the Universal Technical Institute and the NASCAR Technical Institute. Over the years, I’ve focused on delivering quality repairs and have moved into leadership roles, teaching others the art of trailer mechanics. 

George: What challenges have you faced in this industry, and how have you overcome them? 

Stevens: Being a woman in a male-dominated field comes with challenges, from stereotypes to being underestimated. My approach has always been to focus on my skills and deliver my best work. I advocate for myself and use mentorship as a tool to both learn and teach. 

Huang: You mentioned the importance of mentorship. Can you share a specific instance where mentorship significantly impacted your career? 

Stevens: Participating in “Women Who Wrench,” our mentorship program, which pairs female technicians with experienced leaders, has supported my career. Through this mentorship program, I gained access to educational tools and mentors. It reinforced my belief that women can excel in traditionally male-dominated fields. I realized I am not alone in advocating for equal rights for women in any career. Witnessing the successful women in the program reaffirmed my determination and fueled my drive to succeed.

George: How do you view the role of male colleagues in supporting gender diversity in the workplace? 

Stevens: They play a vital role. Challenging stereotypes, amplifying women’s voices, and advocating for equal opportunities contribute to a more equitable workplace where everyone can thrive. 

When women feel more comfortable trusting mechanics, it fosters an environment of fairness and equality. They can confidently seek out repairs, knowing they won’t be mistreated or taken advantage of in terms of costs or services.


Level II Mobile Diesel Technician, Fleet Services

Huang: What inspired you to pursue a career as a diesel technician? 

Miller: It was my dad’s influence and my love for working with my hands. I started young, working for an international dealer, and eventually found my way to Cox Automotive because of the flexibility, mentorship, and opportunities here. 

Huang: Working with engines is challenging. What keeps you motivated in such a demanding field?  

Miller: The satisfaction of solving complex problems and the joy of working with my hands motivates me. Every engine is a new puzzle, and the sense of achievement in finding a solution is unparalleled. 

George: Mentorship is a recurring theme. How do you plan to give back to the community through mentorship? 

Miller: I aim to mentor young women entering the field, sharing my knowledge and experiences. It’s about creating a supportive environment where they feel empowered to pursue their passion for mechanics. Through “Women Who Wrench,” it’s been easier to connect with other female technicians, which was rare in my previous experiences. This support system has been invaluable, providing me with a network of women who understand our challenges. 

Huang: What advice would you give young women aspiring to enter this field? 

Miller: Go for it! It’s rewarding to diagnose and fix issues, and while there are hard days, the sense of achievement is unparalleled. Having supportive leaders and coworkers makes a significant difference. 

Diversity changes everything. Nothing is impossible when different people from different backgrounds come together.


Level I Auto Maintenance Technician, Manheim

George: What drove you to become a technician? 

Guillen: Since high school, I wanted to be a tech. I took an auto collision course for two years while in school, and right away, I knew I wanted to build a car from the inside out. Going out of town for school wasn’t an option then for me. One day, I found out about a trade school for automotive training. I did not hesitate. I told my daughter I wasn’t getting any younger and that I still wanted to be a tech. At that time, she was a senior in high school. She had asked if I could wait until she graduated so she could go with me. Going to school with her was one heck of an experience. I have almost two years as a tech, and I still love it. 

George: Transitioning from a different profession into automotive technology is inspiring. What advice do you have for others considering a career change?  

Guillen: It’s always possible to follow your passion. The transition might be challenging, but it’s rewarding with perseverance and the right support. Embrace every learning opportunity and believe in your ability to succeed. 

Huang: Reflecting on your journey, what has been your proudest moment as a technician? 

Guillen: My proudest moment was completing my first solo project. It validated my career change and proved to myself that I made the right decision. It’s a reminder of how far I’ve come and what I can achieve. 

Huang: What’s your message to women entering male-dominated professions? 

Guillen: Do it! Pursue your dream, no matter the challenges. Find your place, and you’ll see that all the hardships are worth it. A welcoming environment from male colleagues makes all the difference. 

All it takes for our male colleagues to be allies, promote gender diversity, and support females in the workplace is to be welcoming. Not to make women feel like they shouldn’t be there. That’s all it takes a welcoming environment.


Level I Trailer Repair Technician, Fleet Services 

Huang: What led you to become a trailer technician?  

Hinton: I’ve worked in many fields. I have a culinary degree, I’ve worked as a correctional officer, I’ve been a peer coach, I worked as a GM at a restaurant and bar, I’ve been a personal chef, I’ve done hair and fixed brakes as a side job to make ends meet. When COVID hit, it impacted my ability to provide for my son and myself. My sister, works at Cox and told me about FleeTec Academy. Since FleeTec offers paid training, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to learn more about something I’m already interested in, especially since I’m still paying off my student loans for culinary school. Now I’m a trailer technician, installing liftgates on trailers. 

Huang: How do you think your unique experiences contribute to your role as a technician? 

Hinton: My diverse background has taught me adaptability, problem-solving, and the importance of hard work, invaluable skills in this field. Each experience has contributed to a broader perspective, which I bring daily to my role. 

George: Looking to the future, where do you see the role of women in the automotive industry heading? 

Hinton: I see a future where women are equally represented across all levels, from technical roles to leadership positions. We’re breaking down barriers and changing perceptions, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse industry. 

Huang: What advice do you give young women in male-dominated fields? 

Hinton: Follow your passion, find mentors, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Be confident in your abilities and be a role model for other women. It’s about proving that gender does not define capability. 

Diversity is important because it can lead to better outcomes in various aspects of life, fostering creativity, innovation, empathy, and social cohesion. It also helps create a more just and inclusive society where everyone can succeed. A diverse workforce brings together individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and problem-solving approaches.


‘Project Pink’ and ‘Women Who Wrench’ are programs that are transformative movements within Cox Automotive, propelling the industry towards a more inclusive and supportive environment. To learn more, visit

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