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Not everyone is meant to attend a traditional four-year college to earn a bachelor’s degree, and trade schools can offer students an educational path to dependable, fulfilling and well-paying jobs. That’s the view of Bonnie Greenwood, a shop technician with FedEx Freight, who said that if she wants to do something, “it doesn’t really matter to me who else is doing it.”
Greenwood has been with FedEx Freight since October 2017 and is based out of its facility near Salt Lake City.
“After winning FutureTech, I was interested in them and they were interested in me, and so we started talking,” she said.
Greenwood was the first female champion of the TMC FutureTech competition in 2017. (FedEx Freight)
Just a month earlier, in September 2017, Greenwood, then a student at WyoTech in Laramie, Wyo., became the first female champion of TMC FutureTech, a competition of American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council that is sponsored by the TechForce Foundation.
Greenwood earned a certificate in diesel technology from WyoTech. She said she and her wife wanted to move to the Salt Lake area, and FedEx Freight figured out how to get her into one of its shops there.
In the past, perhaps the career of a heavy-duty truck technician was a male-dominated field, Greenwood said. But that is changing. “Even the men realize that we need diversity, and we need more people,” she said. “The trades are hurting for technicians in general.”
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Greenwood earned a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology. “I’ve always been a math and science kind of nerd,” she said, adding that she also loves the outdoors. “Although it’s still definitely a passion of mine, I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to pursue as my career,” she said.
As a shop technician for FedEx Freight, “I’m just a part of the crew,” Greenwood said. “No one batted an eye when they knew that a female technician was joining,” she said.
Although she’s glad she attended a four-year college, Greenwood conceded it’s not for everybody. “At 29 years old, I decided to go back and do trade school because I wanted to have a dependable job,” said Greenwood, who’s now 31. “If I want to do something, I just do it. It doesn’t really matter to me who else is doing it.”
She travels often for her job.
“I run our mobile repair unit from Utah into Wyoming almost weekly,” Greenwood said, noting she works on pretty much any piece of equipment — from forklifts to tractors and trailers. The job involves everything from truck preventive maintenance to “spending a lot of time” on the computer working on aftertreatment systems and other engine issues.
“[Trades] are never going away,” she said. “We’re always going to have trucks transporting goods,” Greenwood said, adding there is a need for mechanics, as well as electricians, plumbers, welders and carpenters.
“All those trades are going to be forever needed — the exciting thing about all those trades is that they’re advancing,” Greenwood said.