Sarah Bruce
Public Relations / Member Engagement
Email: sarahbruce@ara.bc.ca
Phone: 604-432-7987

It’s About Doing Your Best, Not Gender

“To me, it doesn’t matter if you are male or female as long as you can do the job,” said Amanda Koehler, Red Seal motorcycle technician and BCIT instructor.

And can Amanda ever do the job. After obtaining her Red Seal certification in motorcycle mechanics she went on to work for Trev Deeley Motorcycles, a Harley Davidson dealer, and joined the race team. She continued to work in the racing industry and travelled all across the United States as a crew chief for Top Fuel Harley.

She eventually went on to work in a specialty shop where she learned how to fabricate motorcycles, and was then asked to team up with a motorcycle shop owner where she honed skills and learned about the business side of the motorcycle industry.

Nowadays, she is teaching at BCIT and loving it.

Growing up, her parents never treated her like a “typical girl” nor was she directed toward a traditionally female-dominated career. Motorcycles were always something that interested her. “I never felt prejudiced against. My parents were never like, ‘Are you sure you want to do that because you’re a girl? Whatever you want to do, we will stand behind you.’”

She worked hard and it paid off. Winter is considered the low season in the powersports industry but she was always kept on when she proved she could be flexible with her role. She did everything from repairs to sales and worked her way up to being one of the highest paid techs.

When it comes to negative attention in the workplace, Amanda thinks it’s less about being a woman and more about being divergent from the norm. The type of guy who will be hard on a woman is the same guy that picks on other guys for being different, Amanda explained. “So if you come in and you’re a female that is the most obvious thing about you, they’ll pick on that.”

When guys say, “‘Girls don’t know anything’ they are just saying it to get a reaction,” Amanda said. “But you don’t have to react, you just have to show in your work that you’re better than that.”

At the end of the day, Amanda believes working hard and showing your passion through your work are the ways to succeed in the industry, regardless of being male or female.