Patterson Female Service Technician Thrives in a Male Dominated Role

In Diagnostics, Embracing Coworkers, Inspiration, Motivating Women by Candace Barry

If there is one thing being a service tech is not, it’s not a punch-in-and-punch-out type of job. According to Candace Barry, every day is different, and every day is an adventure.

Originally from New York, Candace has been a service technician in Phoenix, Arizona, for about five years. The challenge of helping our customers fix problems each day is what motivates her.

“I could be at the branch all day fixing an air compressor, and the next day I could be at an office fixing an air/water syringe. I do not get bored,” shares Candace. “It challenges me mentally and physically. As soon as you figure out one piece of equipment, a new one is created. We are required to have a lot of knowledge at our fingertips and are held accountable to keep up with training and learning.”

The skills that it takes to be a service technician are somewhat of a lost art these days. For Candace, it was in her blood to fix things from a young age.

“My grandpa was a mechanic and a jack of all trades, and he taught me about every single tool and how to use the correct tool. I watched him work and knew immediately that I wanted to do something like him when I grew up,” Candace recalls.

A few of the desired skills for being a service technician are multitasking, understanding the end goal, and of course knowledge of basic fix-it applications such as plumbing, computer components, and electrical. It doesn’t have to be specific to dental – all that can be taught.

“The top priority is communication skills. I need to support my sales reps, other techs and manufacturers to communicate to them what is happening in the offices I’m working in. On the flip side, when I enter an office, I need to be able to explain to the doctor and office staff how I’m going to fix the equipment, and if there will be any down time, how much will it cost, would it be cost-efficient to buy new, etc. We need to communicate in a way that doctors and office staff can understand while at the same time earning their trust,” says Candace.

Being in front of the doctor on a regular basis, Candace takes extreme pride knowing that she is representing Patterson.

“I love the fact that I’m helping doctors and patients. When I’m able to get a vital piece of equipment up and running, I know that the patients are going to get the best treatment. This also makes the doctors and staff feel confident. What we as service techs do trickles all the way down,” says Candace.

Patterson currently only has a handful of female service techs – a number the company is working to increase. As with many fields, it doesn’t matter if you are male or female as long as you are willing to learn.

“When I went to get my biomedical degree, I was in classes with primarily males. When I started going to interviews, it was again an all-male environment. Many companies asked why I would want to work in a male-dominated field. I took the Patterson job because I felt they were looking at my qualifications and skill level rather than my gender. They asked me the same questions that they would have asked anybody.”

Candace believes the way to increase diversity in an organization is to simply show a diverse group of people working there. Everyone is drawn to people who look like them. This sends the vital message that anyone who has the skill set and the desire can do the job.

“I’m a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. Typical stereotypes need to be thrown out. I can train anyone to do this job if they have a strong work ethic. We women will keep on fighting the good fight and I’m excited to see more diversity in this role and other roles at Patterson going forward.”

Candace wants to personally thank Patrick Sheehy, her management and team for the opportunities and support she has received.