Posted at April 26, 2020

Profile of Jamie Beckman: Woman Car Doctor in Blue – C. Imani Williams

Profile of Jamie Beckman: Woman Car Doctor in Blue

– C. Imani Williams

Donned in a work uniform two sizes too big and the hue of the darkest of blues does little to mask the light and smile Jamie Beckman gives off as she greets customers as they pull into the grease-laden garage.

I’d just had my oil changed and didn’t see the little reminder sticker in the top right-hand corner of my windshield which could quite possibly mean, I’d never get another oil change in this lifetime. Little reminders have always been lifesavers in my world. Jamie greeted my question regarding the reminder sticker with a smile and dashed off some place within the darkness of the garage, quickly returning with a sticker and pen. Her stylish spiked short haircut, face piercings, and petite size could have placed her almost anywhere outside of the garage.

I knew I wanted to profile her as soon as I saw her. Beckman: attractive, single, and 22 years young had known exactly where her passion lay since she was 13.


“Growing up in Nebraska I mowed lawns for my aunts and uncles to make money during the summer, and my father thought that I should use the money to buy myself a car. So after saving for a few years my father and I split the cost of a 1969 Mustang when I was a new teenager. It needed to be restored and from that day on I was all about making the car run well and run right.”


Of course, I wanted to know how that interest was received by Beckman’s family.


“My whole life I have been considered a tom-boy so my father was always asking me to come help work on the car, 99% of the time it was just to hold a light for him, but I didn’t care cause I was working on the car with dad and that was all that mattered to me. So when I decided to join the Air Force to be a mechanic. Neither of my parents was really shocked, but they were hesitant about me trying to make a career out of a male-dominated career, however, they were very supportive of it 100%.”


What about mentors?


“I’ve had many mentors over the years, but my main two would have to be my father and my first trainer in the Air Force, Harris Thompson. My father got me into cars and sparked my interest and then once I got to Davis-Monthan here in Tucson, Harris Thompson took me under his wing and taught me everything he could about diesel and gas engines.”

You and I met at Goodyear, was it your first professional mechanic’s gig?

“Working at Goodyear was my first civilian job being a mechanic, but I was a Heavy Engine Mechanic for three and a half years in the Air Force.”

What advice do you have for girls and young women who may want to study Auto Mechanics but are catching flack for it?

“I would tell them if they know that being a mechanic is what they really want to do or even what they have a passion for learning about then go for it. Over time people will see that it isn’t just a phase or that you just want to know little things, but that you want to have an understanding for cars, and you want to know what makes them run.” Beckman said.

Adding, “Don’t give up though just because other people hassle you about it. During high school, I got hassled a lot by the guys in my grade and  guys grades above me, but I never let it stop me, and if they got really bad, I just told my older brother, and he took care of them :).”

What is your ultimate career goal?

“Ultimately I would like to become ASE qualified as a Master Technician, but I know that it is a little way down the road because there are a couple of different tests to take and pass.”

Did you go to school to be a mechanic, and how many other females were in your program? How many completed?

“I did attend training for Heavy Engine Equipment through the Air Force, at Port Hueneme Naval Base, in Oxnard, CA for four and a half months. For me, the training didn’t seem to be that intense because I already had some background knowledge of engines and mechanics and even was a “Distinguished Graduate” of the first school I attended there. There were two other females in my class and we all completed both sets of schools that we had to attend with flying colors.”

What do you say to those who say women can’t possibly do non-traditional jobs as well as a man?

“I would tell them they are dead wrong. A woman can learn just as well as a man how to be a mechanic and are 100% capable of doing everything a male mechanic does. I pull just as much weight as all the other guys in my shop, and I’ve even had to help guys break bolts loose from time to time, so physically and mentally I would say women are just as capable as men to do non-traditional jobs.”

Do you mentor other girls who have an interest in cars?

“I have taught a couple of my friends that are females some things, and I am always willing to share my knowledge with anyone male or female. I really do get more excited when a female shows interest in mechanics and I can share my knowledge with her because it just goes to show that being a mechanic is no longer just a man’s career field.”

What’s your favorite car, what make year, model and color?

“My favorite car would actually have to be my 1969 Ford Mustang that I bought when I was 13. It is black with ghost metallic flames on the front. It has been my baby since the day I bought it, and this past March I had it shipped down here from Nebraska so I could have it here and be able to work on it when I want to, not just when I go back and visit my family in Nebraska.”

How long have you lived in Tucson, where were you before, and what were you doing?

“I was based here in Tucson in March of 2004, and have been here ever since except for the 4 and a half months I spent in Iraq. I was born and raised in Wayne, Nebraska, and decided that after high school I really didn’t want to go to college and thought the Air Force was the way to go since I did want to travel and actually get paid to learn. It was a way to not have to pay for it myself or burden my parents, so I became a Heavy Engine Mechanic for the Air Force and worked on just about everything under the sun.”

How much flack do you catch from men/women who think you can’t do your job?

“I honestly don’t get hassled that much for being a mechanic. From time to time there is the occasional question if I work as hard as the guys do, and my roommates can vouch by the way that I smell after work most days that I do, haha.”

Personally, I’d much rather deal with a female/woman mechanic I’d even like to see women-owned shops I’d go there first before hitting the chains or traditional places owned by men. Do you see this being an option for women in the near future?

“I’ve actually heard that there is an all-women mechanic shop here in Tucson, and I tried finding information on it when I was getting ready to get out of the Air Force but couldn’t find anything, but I think it would be fantastic to have an all-woman shop. I think a lot of women feel the same way because I have heard of places taking advantage of women because they don’t always understand mechanic lingo.  Personally I don’t want to open my own shop because I’m not an office person by any means. My passion is out on the shop floor getting dirty, fixing people’s cars, and making them run as they should. I was born and raised in the country so working with my hands and doing physical labor is how my parents taught me to make a living.”

Any advice in closing:

“For other females that are out there and have the desire to learn about cars I want to tell them to just jump right into it. Don’t allow people to make you the designated flashlight holder, grab a wrench, get in there, and get dirty. And another perk besides being able to fix your own vehicle is that I haven’t met a woman yet that doesn’t find a female mechanic attractive. :)”

Beckman has the right idea. She absolutely loves cars. And she’s pretty fly in her work uniform too!

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