– Female vehicle A/C technician not deterred by stereotypes
AS she lifts the bonnet to inspect what is wrong with the vehicle, Ann Marie Machado cannot help at times but think of all the negativity associated with working in a male-dominated industry.
But she is not prepared to let it stop her; instead, she believes that she may very well be on her way to taking over the workshop when her dad retires.
“As a woman doing air conditioning, I have to deal with all kinds of people; from persons who feel I need rescuing to persons who feel like I am uneducated and have no choice,” Ann Marie, of Brickery, East Bank Demerara, expressed in an interview with Pepperpot Magazine.
The 22-year-old mother of one has always entertained the idea of becoming a businesswoman while she was growing up, but after finishing the Diamond Secondary School with a distinction in Business, Ann Marie went in several different directions.
Her first job was at a call centre and then she was later employed as a personal assistant. When this did not work out, she left to go into the interior to be a cook and shop owner.
Still searching for the right job with which she was most comfortable, she started working at Mars Workshop on George Street, a stone’s throw away from the Brickdam Cathedral, which her father owned for over 30 years.
“Before I started, it had never crossed my mind or was even mentioned to me that I can work there and do air conditioning; it was probably because I was just here, there and everywhere doing all kinds of things,” Ann Marie reflected.
She started in June 2018 and soon after realised that vehicle air conditioning is what she would rather do over anything else that she’d tried before.
At the A/C workshop, Ann Marie is capable of checking any vehicle and identifying what the problem is. She can change almost any A/C-related part from the vehicle, remove and re-install it. She can also oil and gas over a system.
Although the naysayers will get to her at times, Ann Marie said there are also those female customers who are quite impressed with her work and are very encouraging to her.
Explaining a few other challenges, Ann Marie said: “It’s quite difficult to work in the sun. This job requires strength and extreme patience and I have my own personal struggles like dealing with hormones and impatient customers. Even though to many I may appear to be strong, I still have regular girl issues.”
In future, Ann Marie hopes to learn aluminum welding which is a part of the service offered at the workshop. She has never gotten any formal training in air conditioning.
“Hopefully, I will be able to do everything that air conditioning entails, so I can maybe one day take over the workshop from my father when he is ready to retire. Everything I am able to do, I have learned from my father.”
Ann Marie loves being a mom and enjoys spending time with her family and friends, swimming, and travelling.