Former Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire Technician Katie Tatum.

Looking back at my time at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire

In Girl in a Mechanics World by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

By Katie Tatum

This is my closing chapter working as an assistant technician at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire before leaving for Ohio Technical College.

The shop has done a lot for me in the past year and I cannot thank them enough. They are friendly, not only to the customers but the technicians in the shop.

Last summer, I started looking for a job in the automotive field – not only to help me with autotech – but to also to save up money for college.

A lot of places turned me down because I wasn’t eighteen yet (even though I would turn eighteen in a couple of months). This really brought my hopes down because for the most part I thought I did really bad at job interviews, until my automotive teacher, Mr. Stevens, recommended I go to Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

The owner, Mr. Billingsley, hired me on the spot with one condition – I could not drive cars into the shop until I turned eighteen. I was over excited and extremely nervous because this was going to be my first job. Best first job ever right?

From here on out this job would help me grow a lot during my senior year of high school. I thought I would really have a hard time being a female in the automotive field, however, at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, I grew thick skin really fast, which you really need in this field.

Thanks to them I have learned and will continue to learn to stand up for myself in every situation that it will be needed. Throughout life people will push you around if you have the chance of being better than they are. At Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, they taught me how to handle that and now I treat the other technicians like annoying big brothers.

There were more lessons that I have learned during my year working at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

The automotive industry is way different from working in a restaurant, for example. If you mess up a customer’s order in a restaurant, that’s okay they just make a new plate. In the shop if you mess up someone’s car, it is expensive and depending on what went wrong it can be life threatening. You need to know what you are doing so you don’t put anyone’s life or wallet at risk. This helped me pay more attention to the way I act in daily life and the way I communicate with other people.

I also learned that you need to finish things once you start them. You cannot stop in the middle of putting a tire on a car and say, “Okay I’m done now.” The task is incomplete and the car is undrivable. Learning this has helped me fight against procrastination in the real world. For example, if I don’t feel like doing my homework all I have to do is write a sentence and then I will see the task through until I am finished.

There are many more things I learned in this shop than just those two things that have to do with growing up and transitioning from being a student to an employee.

I have each and every person in that shop to give credit to especially the owner, ST Billingsley. He has helped me realize there is more to the automotive industry than just working on cars and as you read this, he is opening up more doors for me. That is only something an extraordinary person would do for another.

As a woman in a male dominated industry I now have confidence in myself and my abilities to compete and work on the same level as everyone else thanks to Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

I am not sucking up to my bosses reading this (ok maybe a little) but seriously, I am really going to miss working here and could not have asked for a better first job. I cannot even begin to describe how open and friendly this shop is. I know I am safe here to grow as needed and they have expressed interest in rehiring me if I ever want to come back after Technical School. I am really going to miss working at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire for the next few years because this was not just a first job, but it grew into finding a place I would very gladly want to come back to in the future and I know I will be comfortable.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.