(WACO) – Rosie the Riveter, the World War II symbol of a woman’s working world, is still important today to Texas State Technical College alumna Rhiannon Thurmond.
A small doll version of the icon is Thurmond’s travel companion on work assignments as a working manager for the regional branch of Ultimate Biomedical Solutions in Magnolia. Thurmond’s Rosie the Riveter carries a tool bag and is an inspiration for her work.
“I get in my truck and see her hanging there and say to myself, ‘We can do it,’” Thurmond said. “Be the example you would want your kids to see. This speaks to my heart as I have two girls. My youngest is in second grade and my oldest is in high school. I hope they see me doing great things and walk away inspired. I was a single mom when I started at TSTC.”
Some of Thurmond’s job duties include meeting monthly preventive maintenance and corrective quotas, negotiating contracts and helping to purchase new medical devices for clients. Her work is done at surgical centers, emergency rooms and imaging centers in the Austin, Dallas and Houston areas.
She recently received certification from Penlon, an international company specializing in anesthesia, intubation, oxygen therapy and suction equipment.
“Every day is a new opportunity to assist in the growth of my company,” Thurmond said. “I provide as much value as I can by offering new, dynamic ideas to improve our task management software, business processes and new account acquisitions.”
Jobs for medical equipment repairers are expected to grow to more than 49,000 through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land area has the highest number of medical equipment repairers in the state with about 850 workers.
Roger Bowles, a TSTC instructor in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program, is encouraged by the number of jobs available in the field for graduates.
“It’s wide open,” he said. “They just need to be flexible about where they need to go.”
Thurmond grew up in Bryan and San Marcos. She was influenced to pursue her career by her mother-in-law, an emergency room trauma nurse.
“I have always enjoyed tinkering with electronics,” Thurmond said. “I used to tear apart my brother’s fire engines for the LEDs to make flashlights so I could stay up late and read after my mom said it was lights-out.”
Thurmond graduated in 2006 from TSTC with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology.
“When I went to TSTC, there were only a handful of us gals, and by the end of the semester, I believe there were only two in my graduating class,” Thurmond said. “If you are a female interested in the Biomedical Equipment Technology field, don’t let that stigma that a woman can’t do well in the technology field stop you. Put on your boots, be confident and absorb everything like a sponge.”
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.