Heart of steel.

By: Dave Boerger
Communications Strategist/Writer

V Teamer Patty Alonso overcame the odds ‒ and sexism ‒ to become a trailblazing fleet technician.

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Note: The footage of Patty in the above video was shot prior to the COVID pandemic and before mask and social distancing guidelines had been established. In a video update recorded in October of 2020, Patty pulled down the mask she was wearing to thank Verizon Fleet for providing adequate PPE and allowing her to “safely continue doing what I love to do.” She encouraged everyone to wash hands, wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

When a Verizon truck limps into the shop with a problem that defies diagnosis, Patty Alonso gets excited. She’s an expert at using her intelligence, creativity and tenacity to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, whether related to vehicles or her own career.

When Patty joined the V Team in 2015, she was the only female technician in her Verizon fleet garage. Her road to a successful career in the automotive field was longer and harder than most, due to rampant sexism.

Born in Mexico as the youngest of three kids, Patty developed a love for problem-solving and working with her hands fueled by her father’s love of building custom bikes. Despite the neighborhood’s “machismo” culture and strict gender roles, her father encouraged his daughter’s budding interest. “He always knew I wanted to be a mechanic. He didn’t hold me back by saying ‘this is for men’ or ‘this is for women’. He taught me to memorize and organize my tools, basic things.”

Unfortunately, at automotive training school in Mexico, her fellow students and teachers were less welcoming. She was told directly that the garage was not a place for her. As she failed test after test, she refused to give up, retaking them until she passed and earned the respect of her teachers.

She eventually performed at the top of her class, but was unable to gain certification due to the lack of a women’s bathroom available at the facility.

Through it all, Patty persevered.

Over the following years, Patty faced isolation, teasing and even open hostility from her male colleagues. When she would switch jobs to avoid a toxic culture, she was forced to start all over again as the low “man” on the pole.

At age 29, after seeing American movies with female truck drivers and airline pilots, she decided to move to the United States, despite not knowing English or having any family here. “I knew I would have to start at the bottom again.”

She walked all over New Jersey’s Hudson County putting in applications and not getting any calls before seeing a job listing that caught her eye. “I didn’t know Verizon had mechanics. I decided to apply.”

Despite having never previously worked on large trucks, she rose at Verizon to become a top technician, often sought after for her subject matter expertise on specific vehicle models.

“Verizon has always had a good reputation for equality,” said Patty. “That makes me feel safe.”

Her love of fixing things goes beyond the garage. “This is a lamp I made from a projector,” said Patty as she showed off items she built around her home, including a total kitchen cabinet renovation, complete with intricate inlaid tile, all done by herself.

By gaining the respect of her colleagues and supervisors, Patty has cleared a path for others to follow. Her dream is to inspire more women who also love to tinker to do what she’s doing. “You will face difficulties. You will face emotional pain, physical pain, but go and get it. Nothing is impossible.”

​V Teamers, click here to join the conversation on VZWeb.

About the author:

Dave Boerger is a part of the Verizon Corporate Communications team and a regular contributor to Up To Speed. He's a recovering marketer and sitcom writer.

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