Katie Gustafson


The world of vehicle maintenance and technology has long been considered a man’s world. But today, that is changing and Hennepin Tech is part of that change.

HTC’s Automotive Technology program has two women on the verge of graduation: Katie Gustafson and Sweden Torgerud. Katie recently answered some questions about her interest in vehicles and her studies at HTC.

“I’ve always been interested in cars,” she said. “There were no mechanics in my family, so I knew I’d have to go to school to learn about them.” She’s on track to graduate in the spring of 2016, and she’s enthusiastic about the education she has received. “They [HTC] cover everything,” she said. “They cover all that you need to learn. I have my own project car to work on. They took us out to different shops so we could see the work being done. We covered imports and domestics and how different they are.”

While finishing school, Katie is working at a local Ford dealership. “I started as a lot technician, then I got moved into the shop where they do oil changes and tire rotations.” Any concerns she had about being a female in a male-dominated role quickly dissipated. “Everyone there is awesome,” she said. “They really want to help me learn. It’s the same at HTC. No one acts like it’s wrong for me to be in the program.”

She said that women who are interested in working with vehicles should strongly consider the Automotive Technology program at HTC. “Physical strength is not an issue,” she said. “You need the right tools to get the job done. Our teachers have been really, really helpful. They’re so great.”

The automotive industry stands poised to be welcoming to women in the field. HTC partner Tim Lundquist of Dynotec Industries supports students like Katie and Sweden. “As far as females go, you don’t see them in the automotive industry, so it’s cool to see [Katie and Sweden] progressing. Both of them have that natural ability to connect knowledge to eyes and hands.” In fact, he thinks they may have an advantage in one area: “They are so much more detail-oriented,” he said. “That’s a big plus when you’re working on vehicles.”

When asked if she had advice for women who are interested in this career path, Katie said, “Just go for it. You just have to do it. Get your education and check out your options. Maybe there are still those who don’t think women belong in this role, but I don’t.”

Last updated by jhanson : 2016-08-18 15:45:59