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Veronica Anderson: Her Drive Speaks Louder Than Words


Between Hot Wheels and Barbies, the choice was obvious for Veronica Anderson: It was Hot Wheels all the way. At least until she was old enough in her dad’s eyes to pick up a wrench and start making tweaks under the hood of his Ford.

By societal standards, Veronica wasn’t like other girls growing up. She would rather have been in the garage with her dad or out at the racetrack, dreaming of the day when she could compete. “My dad got back into stock car racing when I was 12 and I looked at those cars and told my dad ‘I want to do that.’ He always told me that I needed to learn more about cars if I had a real interest,” she says. “That moment pretty much led me to my path today.”

From Hot Wheels to Hot Rods

Fast-forward a decade later and Veronica is the electric vehicle technician for Mercedes-Benz of Quad Cities. “I am the EQF-certified technician at my dealership at this time, so I enjoy working with the electrical components on the vehicle and how that contributes to the system or motor,” she says.

From reconstructing engines to standard repairs, Veronica experiences it all as an automotive technician. Some days she might have her hands in three to four cars, others she’s working through 10 to 13.

The complex repairs on these vehicles aren’t the only things that present a challenge in her day. Working as a female in a male-dominated industry has continued to bring obstacles of its own. But she doesn’t let that stop her.

“Why am I going to let their words define me?” she states with conviction. “It does have its challenges but at the end of the day I’m fixing these vehicles just like any other technician, regardless of my gender, and that alone is rewarding.”

She sees every difficult encounter as an opportunity to expand her capabilities and fall back on her training. “Throughout these hardships I’ve been able to not only find my voice but to use it and speak up with my thoughts and opinions for the solution,” she explains.

Putting her passion to work

Veronica didn’t get the career that she has today by wishing for it. She worked for it. And even more, she built it. Her parents, who are arguably her biggest fans, were surprisingly hesitant when she first announced her decision to pursue a career in automotive.

“Their biggest fear was for me to go down a path that wasn’t supportive of me because I was female.” She continues, “But once I explained it to them and walked them through Universal Technical Institute's Lisle campus, they were excited for me to pursue this ‘cause they knew I had always wanted it.”

Veronica chose the 51-week Automotive Technology program for its short duration.1,7 However, she didn’t know that her passion for two beloved brands would lead to her completing both Ford FACT and Mercedes-Benz (MB) Drive,15 both of which are highly recognized advanced training programs.

These programs are known as Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) programs developed with and certified by the manufacturer themselves to provide a curriculum pertaining to their distinct vehicles and technologies.

These advanced training programs aren’t for the faint hearted. In fact, the MB Drive program is highly competitive to get into. Students have to apply and get accepted based on their previous program performance.

“The intensity of the program made me dedicate myself more to my training,” Veronica says.

Many graduates who continue their training with these progressive programs talk about the positive impact they have made on advancing their skills and career paths. Veronica shares the same sentiment. “The MSAT programs really elevate your career path because it provides you with more specific knowledge. It helped me progress in my career so much I can’t recommend it enough!” she says.6

'Be the Best' Boulevard

When she first enrolled at UTI, Veronica’s focus was on completing the program as quickly as possible “because it led to racing faster.” But as her training continued and her passion progressed, she started to pursue a new goal.

“It was ‘be the best or nothing.’ So, I decided I wanted to be the best,” says Veronica.

She carried this mindset with her through every step of her education. Even now she perseveres with a headstrong attitude and extreme self-discipline toward improving her skills.

Although she is still early in her career, Veronica has already accomplished so much and she doesn’t plan on stopping. Next on her list is becoming a Master Technician. After that she plans to apply for the Mercedes-Benz Central Diagnostic Technician (CDT) Program. “It’s a difficult and complex program to get into. I would like to be accepted into that program and pass it. Then maybe later I’ll become a Field Specialist for Mercedes,” she shares.

She even talked about the interest in potentially coming back to UTI to teach the Mercedes-Benz Drive program as an instructor. Outside her career goals she wants to continue empowering others who are stepping into the automotive field, especially women.

To those women she would say:

"Be fearless. You won’t be able to avoid criticism, so face it head-on. Show them and prove them otherwise. Let your actions speak for themselves because their words won’t mean anything when they see what you can do."

And to those wondering, yes, she still races. You can find her tinkering on her race car in the garage after work and out kicking up dirt at the track on the weekends.

If Veronica has inspired you to take the first step toward training for an automotive career, visit our program page or request more information here.

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