West-MEC Collision Student Breaking the Mold
Kaitlynn Trubl is breaking the narrative in the automotive industry. Trubl attended West-MEC and completed the Collision Repair and Refinishing program last spring, and now works as a Refinish Technician at Caliber Collision.
Just 5.3% of refinish technicians are female, and the automotive industry as a whole continues to be male-dominated. Trubl hopes sharing her experience entering the field helps the percentage continue to grow higher in the future but says her transition into the industry couldn’t have gone any better.
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without my collision instructor Mr. (David) Melian, he always made me feel like I was meant to be there,” said Trubl. “I’ve never had a situation where I was like, ‘Do I belong here?’ He gave me the confidence to never be nervous in this environment, so my first day on the job I was only thinking about my skill set and why I belong at Collision Caliber.”
Trubl’s dad is an aviation mechanic but worked on cars as a hobby while Trubl was growing up. It was something she was around and enjoyed doing with her dad, but she had never considered a career in the automotive industry. She planned to pursue environmental science, but the decision to go to West-MEC changed her life.
“I was always interested in doing bodywork so I actually took the collision class just as a fun hobby. It turned out to be more fun than I ever imagined,” said Trubl. “And after the first year, I realized I want to do this. I want this to be my career.”
A hobby on the side turned into a major passion of Trubl’s. As it turned out, she also had a knack for refinishing. During her two years at West-MEC, she won back-to-back Arizona SkillsUSA Automotive Refinishing Technology competition titles. She competed in the national competitions as well.
This hobby turned major passion, eventually turned into a career. The best part for Trubl is she had no job search.
“We had mock interviews at West-MEC and I just so happened to be with the regional director of
Caliber Collision. I did the interview and gave him my resume and a few weeks later, he gave me a call and I didn’t have to go searching for a job, it just kind of came to me which is really nice,” said Trubl.
Trubl’s primary job duties are prepping cars, masking and mixing paint, and getting everything ready for the painter to spray paint the car. She appreciates her time and all the people she met at West-MEC.
“At West-MEC, the learning was really hands-on, and that’s something I didn’t know I needed until I was there. We were in the shop my first day of class,” said Trubl. “It was really fun constantly being in the shop and getting hands-on experience rather than doing a worksheet or something like that.”