SAN ANTONIO – Managing major equipment is something 62-year-old CPS Energy worker Bertha Coronado has mastered over decades.
She is the first and only woman to become a seasoned overhead all-equipment operator for the company in her 27 years of working for the utility.
“I work on cranes, hang transformers, hand regulators,” Coronado said. “When a car hits a pole and it breaks, I get in and hold it while they work underneath."
She said in addition to dealing with cold or hot weather, the job can be challenging, but her experience didn’t just start overnight.
“I started working in the gas department for two years and moved to the line department for five years,” Coronado said. “Then I became an all-equipment operator, where I am the No. 1 operator throughout the three centers.”
Coronado is among 700 women who work at CPS Energy, which has over 3,000 employees. Only 12 of the women work out in the field.
“When I first became an operator, I used none of the machinery,” Coronado said. “It makes me feel good that I can do it and breaking barriers for other females to maybe come up in the department.”
Married with two daughters and five grandchildren, Coronado said you will never see her working an inside job behind a desk, even at the age of 62.
“I’ve always been -- I wanted to do things the right way, and if the guys were doing it one way, I would try to do it a different way and do it better than what the guys were doing it,” Coronado said.
She said she has also had to break stereotypes in the workplace.
“I was told that I couldn’t do it,” Coronado said. “I am hardheaded. I am going to show you I can do it. There was people that would tell me this wasn’t a female’s job. I did it, and here I am. You can do it, too, if you just follow your dreams.”
Coronado said she hopes she can inspire anyone as she continues to train and help push people in her work family the way they pushed her.
“Pretty soon, I will be on my way out, and hopefully, they will get the knowledge that I did when I first started coming up,” Coronado said.