Equipment Operator shatters stereotypes
It’s not often that you see a woman working on the frontlines, and it’s really rare to come across one operating heavy equipment or machinery. According to Zippia data from 2022 (a career expert website), only about 8.6% of equipment operators in the United States are female. That, however, doesn’t keep Miranda Menchaca from getting behind the controls of an 8-ton backhoe.
Of the more than 800 women working for CPS Energy, Miranda is an Equipment Operator. She is just one of 10 women at the company serving in a skilled-craft role.
Miranda graduated from East Central High School and earned a degree in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) from St. Philip’s College in San Antonio. She joined CPS Energy in August 2021, following in her father’s bootsteps and continuing a legacy of service with San Antonio’s natural gas and electric provider. Miranda started at the company as a General Trainee in the Energy Delivery Services area. After a year of working in that role, she progressed to Equipment Operator on a crew in the Underground Energy Distribution (UED) area that installs electric services in residential neighborhoods.
There’s more to her story. Please keep reading to learn more about Miranda, and check out the video below, as we wrap up our series celebrating Women’s History Month.
Q: Tell us about what you do at CPS Energy?
Miranda: In my role, I haul heavy equipment to the job site and operate the equipment. This can include backhoes, rock saws, skid loaders, EZ haulers, cranes, trenchers, skid steers and other pieces of equipment. I also serve as a lead and teach co-workers the basics of what we’re doing on the job and how to safely operate equipment.
Q: What were some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career with CPS Energy?
Miranda: Mentally being able to do the job and figuring out if I was even right for the job. I’ve overcome that by becoming more confident in the machine work I do and through others telling me I’m doing good.
Also, I had to obtain my commercial driver’s license (CDL) after starting with the company. Driving the bigger trucks and pulling the bigger trailers was a bit intimidating and scary at first but I’ve adjusted.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job at CPS Energy?
Miranda: Being able to be on the machines and interacting with people. Being outdoors, seeing and doing different things – every job is different.
Overall, CPS Energy is a good place to work and retire – the benefits, work environment and safety program.
Q: You mentioned you father works at CPS Energy. What is his role at the company?
Miranda: My dad, Juan Menchaca, is a Pole Crew Foreman in Overhead. He’s been with CPS Energy for 24 years. He has always spoken about how great the company is and encouraged me to apply. He’s been very supportive.
Q: What piece of advice do you have for other women to help them be more successful in their careers?
Miranda: Be patient, openminded and learn everything that is offered. Also, have a support system.
Q: In 3 words or less, how would you describe yourself?
Miranda: Patient and easygoing.