Amanda Grinager has been welding for seven years, and currently works in San Diego CA for a yacht company called Marine Group Boat Works. She does structural welding, fabrication and fitting– Anything from tanks to seams, but primarily aluminum MIG/ GMAW welding.
Amanda has been part of the team at MGBW working on a government contract to build three Range Training Support Craft units, the RTSC-110.
These 114-foot US Navy vessels are multi-mission boats with the capability to launch and recover objects such as small high-speed crafts, aerial targets and test weapons. The unique fuel filtration system designed by MGBW to allow the boats to run on 100% biofuel. (you can read about these boats at the company website)
In a lot of ways Amanda really is the new Rosie, working as a welder building boats for our military. She’s proud of the job they’re doing; the boats include a unique fuel filtration system designed by MGBW. “These vessels are the first of their kind, running on bio-diesel fuel and friendly to our environment,” she said.
Amanda was always been mechanically inclined, not to mention inspired by her grandfather who was a machinist for the Union Pacific Railroad. “He took pride in the 50 years he was with the railroad….I am honored to be following in his footsteps,” she said.
Palomar Community College in San Marcos, California is where Amanda got her training in welding and metal fabrication, learning the basics: safety, how to set up a machine, stick welding, MIG welding, TIG welding and flux core, not to mention how certain metals react to heat and how metal changes molecularly. “It was like a science class,” she said.
For Amanda, the “future of construction and consciousness of the environment will add many possibilities for skilled trades like welding.”
And these opportunities are available for women. That’s why Amanda is interested starting up a Rosie’s Girls camp in the San Diego area. Rosie’s Girls is a summer day camp for girls entering 6th, 7th and 8th grades. The camp combines hands-on training in skilled trades– like welding, carpentry, automotive technology. This not only exposes young girls to these non-traditional careers, it gives them confidence and they can engage in activities that examine the messages we receive about the role of women… and they have a heck of a lot of fun!
Amanda admits to having experienced some discrimination, especially when she first started out. “Early on I found it difficult to find work. Larger companies wanted more experience and smaller companies did not want to risk sexual harassment. I was was discouraged, but continued to build my resume by working anywhere I could on my own time to learn as much as possible.”
And that’s the kind of attitude that Amanda would impart to her younger self: “Never give up, be resourceful, and know that you can do it.” And though its been tough to get past the stereotypes, Amanda adds, “Experience and confidence are key.”
NOTE: photo credit J. Cramer