WARRINGTON, Pa.—It’s been 70 years since the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter graced posters and advertisements encouraging women to fill the factory jobs formerly occupied by men—men who were away, fighting for our country in World War II. Rosie was an inspiration to women everywhere. So is Kat McGrath, pre-inspector for Delaware Valley RERS (Shop 114).
Since joining Team U-Haul in 2002, McGrath has become an integral member of her shop and the Company as a whole. Out of 260 pre-inspectors, McGrath holds bragging rights as the only female in this position.
Determined to diagnose
McGrath began her career at U-Haul as a preventive maintenance (PM) technician but knew she wanted to be more involved with diagnostics. With a little time, hard work and focus, McGrath was promoted to pre-inspector in 2004.
“I started here as a PM tech doing oil changes, brakes and things like that,” McGrath mentioned. “I knew I wanted to work my way up to do more mechanical jobs and more diagnostics, so I learned whatever I could. I can credit a lot of my experience to Steve Horan, the shop foreman here. He’s been a real mentor to me.”
“She is very tenacious and passionate about her job,” Horan described. “She doesn’t like to be beaten by any problem. She’s very thorough and works on a vehicle like it’s her own personal vehicle. She doesn’t miss a thing.”
Impossible? No such thing.
The pre-inspector position was a natural fit for McGrath. With her attention to detail and determined spirit, there isn’t a situation she can’t master. McGrath easily could be compared to the main character on the TV show “House” … cracking even the most confounding mechanical cases.
“Kat has a unique way of pre-inspecting a truck,” explained Shop Manager Ken Brewer. “She checks the history, who touched it last, what other problems it’s had, and religiously uses the electronic pre-inspection (EPI) system,” he continued. “Our Company is founded on keeping our cost low for our customers. Kat plays a huge role in that. She gives feedback to other team members about our equipment and recommends whether we should spend the money to repair the truck, given its individual history.”
In addition to giving feedback to team members in the field, McGrath provides thoughtful and detailed information to our corporate headquarters. Her eye for improving shop efficiency during the pre-inspection process has earned her a spot in the Company’s “hall of fame.”
“Kat is one of the System’s leaders in giving us feedback about the EPI,” praised Tom Coffee, director of Repair Shop Management. “She is one of our BETA testers, both when the product first went out, and as it has progressed over the years. A lot of what you see in the EPI has come about because of feedback from Kat. Her feedback and experience have been invaluable to my group.”
What makes her tick?
When she’s not solving mysterious mechanical issues, McGrath loves to spend time with her family.
“My husband, Mark, and I have been together for over ten years as a couple, and we were friends for years before that,” McGrath offered. “He has always been very supportive of me and has definitely helped me along the way by believing in me.”
Her 6-year-old daughter, Deandra, is her pride and joy. McGrath isn’t sure if her daughter is going to follow in her mechanically inclined footsteps, but she will have at least a basic knowledge of automotive maintenance.
“Of course, she’ll know how to change her oil and keep an eye on her vehicle,” McGrath asserted. “It’s important for her to know that so she doesn’t get stuck anywhere.”
McGrath also practices martial arts—specifically Tae kwon do. So if any of her daughter’s future suitors step out of line, they may be on the receiving end of a spinning roundhouse kick to the head. Joking aside, McGrath’s interest in Tae kwon do is another example of her take-charge spirit, determination and willingness to tackle any challenge that comes her way.
“She loves diagnosing and learning something new every day—whether it’s from her peers, additional reading or U-Haul U courses,” Brewer expressed. “She’s the one who stays late after everyone goes home and bends Steve’s ear about diagnosing problems.”
What’s on the horizon?
With such a talented mechanical mind, the possibilities for McGrath are endless. But with something new to learn every day, she certainly isn’t bored.
“I love what I do,” McGrath volunteered. “I couldn’t see myself stuck behind a desk. That doesn’t really suit me. Maybe someday I’ll want to do something else, but right now this is a perfect fit.”
And U-Haul is lucky she’s a part of our team!
“Kat has a great reputation in the Company,” Horan related. “She is always willing to help others and share her knowledge—which is vital in our field. That says a lot about her. We never asked her to do that; she just took it upon herself to help.”
“She’s a huge asset to what we do and what U-Haul wants us to do as a Company,” Brewer raved. “I wouldn’t give her up for anyone!”