Women's History Month Profile: Fleet Pioneers
By Mahanth Joishy, Fleet Superintendent
It’s no secret that the automotive industry is severely under-represented by women globally. Picture the last mechanic that worked on your personal vehicle. What was their gender? If you visualized a man, you wouldn’t be alone. We value every member of our team but we really need to do better in this regard at Fleet as well. It would be great to see the makeup of the division more accurately reflect the Madison community we serve. We won’t get to the 50/50 ratio overnight, but there is some positive news to report: in the last few years we have built a solid foundation to be proud of. Each of the four women who work full-time at Fleet (a record number we hope to expand upon further) are pioneers in their own, different ways:
- Ilknur Uludag (hired 2022) is a mom, the first-ever woman to serve as Fleet Data Analyst, and our first-ever employee who grew up in Turkey. She is also the newest member of the Fleet team, helping keep our powerful and innovative data engine humming every day after a previous life in university academia.
- Leticia Gonzalez (hired 2022) is the second-ever woman to serve as a Fleet Technician in our history, and the first-ever Latina in this role. She is our only current Latinx employee, period. Leticia is training up on the ins and outs of large truck repair on the heavy-duty side of the Nakoosa Trail shop after her previous role working on busses for Madison Metro.
- Rachel Darken (hired 2019) is a mom, one of my trusted deputies and the first-ever woman to serve as an upper manager at Fleet. She also serves as Treasurer of the Madison Women’s Initiatives Committee (WIC) and Co-Lead of the Fleet Equity Team she helped launch.
- Katie Cutler (hired 2018) is the first-ever female Fleet Technician in our history, and the primary mechanic taking care of the all-important Fire Department ambulances that are her territory. In her spare time you might find her in action on a different but no less serious territory: the roller derby scene.
I encourage you to come by Nakoosa Trail and say hello to these pioneers, if you have not already.