“Palomar made it possible for me to get a job in a male-dominated industry.”

SAN MARCOS — For Ingrid Putman, the decision to pursue a career working on diesel-powered machines came easy.

Born and raised in San Marcos, Putman grew up watching her father drive semi trucks and tackle complex mechanical projects.

“I’ve always been around tools, and I’ve always admired my father and how hard he’s worked,” she said.

Now 21, Putman is one semester away from earning her Associate of Science degree in Diesel Technology, and she says that without Palomar, she wouldn’t have had access to the opportunities that have recently come her way.

After enrolling in the program last fall, she soon landed a student position as a department assistant, working closely with Professor Sergio Hernandez. That was her first job in the industry.

Then, this spring, Hernandez came to her with an even better opportunity: Penske, the truck-rental company, was hiring a part-time position at its shop in San Marcos. The job would come with opportunities to advance into a technician-level position.

Putman jumped at the opportunity.

“Palomar made it possible for me to get a job in a male-dominated industry,” she said. “I’m one of only four women in the program, but it’s very comfortable in the classroom. I love it here at Palomar. It’s a great environment.”

Diesel Technology encompasses a range of jobs, from repairing large equipment to maintaining industrial generators to assembling new machines in factories.

Putman said her dream job would be working for either Bobcat or Penske, doing the high-level diagnostic work that’s more challenging.

“It would be cool to work in a factory someday, putting together Bobcats,” she said. “I enjoy how compact those engines are.”

Hernandez said he is confident that Putman will succeed wherever her career takes her.

“Ingrid is going into a male-dominated field, and she doesn’t blink. She says, ‘Bring it.’”

Hernandez said Diesel Technology is a promising career field for young people who are willing to learn the skills and work hard.

“For every seven technicians who are lost due to retirement, injuries or illnesses, all of the schools produce one new technician,” he said. “The field is wide open—anybody who wants to succeed and have a good-paying job with benefits, they just have to come in with the desire and the willingness to learn. The job market is there.”