Breaking Barriers

October 11, 2017 | By Caleb Perriton

Female students at WyoTech are breaking down barriers and creating a place for themselves in the automotive and diesel industry. Bonnie Greenwood, a recent graduate from the September 2017 class, has not only made her mark, but forged a path for herself along the way.

Greenwood, 29, grew up in Atlanta and unlike many of her classmates, hadn’t always dreamed of a career in the automotive industry. In fact, prior to enrolling at WyoTech, she graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology. Following college, Greenwood worked in education, natural resource management, food and beverage and banking before she realized her strong analytical and problem-solving skills could transfer to a growing transportation service industry with unlimited possibilities—which led to her enrollment at WyoTech.

Immediately upon enrolling at WyoTech in Laramie, WyoTech, Greenwood began to excel. She completed the nine-month program in diesel technology working with a variety of diesel engines and power systems. It became apparent to her instructors that she had a unique eye for the computerized and electrical side of diesel and was exceptional at diagnostics.

“Bonnie is very meticulous when it comes to diagnostics—she would concentrate on the problem at hand and follow all the way through until the issue was resolved,” said Chad Parsons, diesel/advanced diesel department chair at WyoTech. “Her attention to detail is unwavering.”

According to recent data, only 8.3 percent of women of automotive repair and maintenance workers are women. Currently, 7 percent of WyoTech students are female.

Weeks before graduation, Greenwood and several peers were sent to compete in the American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council’s (TMC) National Technicians Skills Competition. Greenwood made history by becoming the first female TMC FutureTech Champion. She was the overall winner as well as the individual winner in the areas of torque and electrical schematics.

“Bonnie was the kind of student who always wanted to know the ‘why’ behind tasks. When given an assignment I never had to worry about it getting completed or being done correctly,” said Parsons. “Her competitive nature was the very reason I picked her for the FutureTech challenge.”

Greenwood graduated at the top of her class with a diploma in diesel technology. After speaking with 20 employers and fielding several offers, she accepted a position at FedEx Freight in Salt Lake City and will begin working this month.

Caleb Perriton is the campus director and academic dean at WyoTech Laramie.