Savannah Winkles

Mainline Trackhoe Operator
Southern Site
Savannah Winkles
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At 5’4” and 22 years of age, Savannah isn’t your typical operator. She has a sense of humor barely hidden behind her liberal use of “yes ma’am, thank you ma’am.” She likes operating equipment–the bigger the better–and she seems to have a knack for it. 

Her route to operating heavy equipment started with listening to her father and her step-father discussing their jobs (an electrician and civil engineer).  She was intrigued by the trades, and when she overheard people saying “women can’t do things like that,” it cemented her decision to try it. “I want to point out that we are capable of doing anything, whether we are big, small, or even really young.”

Because she was expected on the job every day, she had to wait until a dental appointment gave her the chance to come to Southern Site for an interview. “I was talkin’ funny,” she jokes, “but I got the job.” She loves Southern Site because they just let her do her thing until she needs help.  “It makes me feel so empowered, so supported.”

Savannah started out on a 6’x6’ roller, and when she laid eyes on her first big excavator, she took aim. “It was the biggest thing I’d ever seen in my life, and I wanted to drive it.” Since working for Southern Site, she’s been encouraged to reach for the sky.  Everyone is willing to teach her, and her superintendent even said she has “finesse.”

For Savannah, there’s so much more on the line than just doing something because someone told her she couldn’t. She’s got her younger siblings’ eyes on her, as well as so many other young people who are just starting out. “When I come out here and my foreman asks me to dig a ditch, that’s my canvass.  I am trying to make this big masterpiece for everyone in the world to see, and I want to get as close to perfection as I possibly can.  I take sooooo much pride in my work.”

Savannah’s advice to young people is “you can do ANYTHING in this world and nobody can EVER say that you can’t do it.”  Specifically for other girls?: “This is just as much our world as it is theirs.  Being an independent woman is everything in this generation,” and also, “I just want to see women succeed.”” 

For Savannah, operating equipment means more than putting in her time at work. “My job is my safe haven. It’s the place where I feel like I can be the true me without any judgement.” 

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