Ruby Diaz a quality control technician at the Kinkisharyo railcar factory in Palmdale, CA. Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice

Ruby Diaz

Ruby Diaz a quality control technician at the Kinkisharyo railcar factory in Palmdale, CA.

Ruby is 21 years old, born and raised in Palmdale.  Her parents are from Mexico and little by little, her extended family came to the Antelope Valley. Her dad fixes cars and RVs, so he showed her some mechanical and electrical skills, growing up. “When I was little, I learned how to fix stuff, I had my own little motor scooter,” she says.

The baby of her family with several older siblings, Ruby started working at 19 years old. Ruby had several industrial jobs through temp agencies including building harnesses, doing continuity testing, working on molding machines, at different factories. Last fall, she heard from a family friend that Kinkisharyo was hiring, so she went to the WorkSource center and was interviewed right away.

She was hired in September 2014 to work at the Kinkisharyo factory in Palmdale as a an electrical worker.  She was recently promoted to quality control technician.

As an electrical worker, Ruby worked on running and routing electrical wires through metal pipes, on top of the railcars, inside, everywhere, through tubes.  She works with thick copper wires, often quite heavy. She also uses putty to hold the tubes and wires in place, withstanding vibrations from the moving trains. She also works with connector teams to connect the bogie and boom components electrically.

“I was a little intimidated with so many male coworkers,” Ruby says.  “But I thought, why not take the challenge.  I’m so small, I can actually walk under the [rail]car [when it is up on jacks, to be worked on the underside].  And maybe it was me being so little and young, but the guys look out for me, like brothers.”

“This Women Can Build project is heartwarming. It’s hard for women, they feel they don’t have enough strength, or power, or dedication. It is a tough and heavy job. But women can work just as hard as anybody. Women shouldn’t be intimidated,” Ruby says.  

She also thinks manufacturers can do more to “spread the word” to women about the opportunities.  “Throw in an electrical class in school,” she suggests.

For now, family and her job are Ruby’s top priorities. “I just want to keep learning!” Ruby says.  She can’t wait to grow with the company and hopes to get promoted someday. “My dad always told me, never give up,” Ruby says.  “My parents are proud of me.”

Her advice for other women is to “keep pushing, stay motivated, dedicated, and follow your dreams.”