Brandi Ashbeck, 22, has known her way around a wrench since she was five or six years old.
Now Wheelers Chevrolet GMC’s newest full-time Detailer after starting mid-January, Ashbeck will be keeping vehicles clean inside and out while working toward her dream of becoming a mechanic.
The Loyal native and graduate of Marshfield High School class of 2015 has plenty of practical experience in the field. “I grew up with three older brothers that were Marines, and we worked on all our own stuff,” said Ashbeck, who now calls Stratford home. “We had mud toys, dirt bikes, snowmobiles – anything and everything…When they would break down or something went wrong, we would fix them.”
Today Ashbeck passes on her practical skills to a younger brother, 13, who is always lying under the trucks or up in the hood alongside her. Her younger sisters, ages 21 and 16, have to learn, too.
“The one thing I told them is once they got their license, they need to learn know how to change their tires and they need change their oil, because I will not do that for them,” she said.
When Ashbeck began applying to be a technician, the businesses she tried wouldn’t give her an application, saying she didn’t have enough experience.
Some of them were skeptical about hiring a woman, she could tell.
On impulse, Ashbeck sent an application to Wheelers GMC and heard back the following weekday. Before she knew it, she had a new job in her dream field. “Someone is finally giving me a break in the mechanic world, so it’s nice,” she said.
To the girls who dream of breaking into a male-dominated field, her advice is simple.
“Ignore what the guys say and do what you want and follow your dreams. That’s what my brothers always said, because I’d get bullied at school every day for going covered in oil and grease.”
If someone says you can’t do something, turn around and do it twice as good, she added.
Ashbeck’s skills are in-demand by friends and acquaintances. Although mechanical work fills her free time, she also enjoys hunting, fishing, and trapping.