Brittany Chapeau has never been one to shy away from challenges or breaking stereotypical barriers.
Growing up in the greater Chicago area around automotive dealerships she learned a lot from her dad, a mechanic and salesperson. “I learned to love the way things worked and how to fix things,” said Brittany. “I chose to go automotive school and the interest just keeps growing.”
Inspired by her grandfather, a Korean War veteran, Brittany decided she also wanted to give back to her country by joining the U.S. Army National Guard. “My grandfather’s entire life was based off the Army’s values, and it gave me pride to follow in his footsteps.”
Her technical skills brought additional opportunity and growth in the Army, including a job as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer. This challenging task involves performing repairs and maintenance exclusively on the range of Bradley fighting vehicles, including anti-aircraft and armored tanks.
“I worked on all parts of the Bradley ranging from engines, suspension, electrical, steering, weapons, and suppression systems, I drove and tested the weapon systems and assisted with movement of units for training. I was a convoy driver and wrecker driver for dead-lined equipment.
“My unit was the main point of contact for any maintenance needs for the Bradley vehicles in the field. If the unit went down, they required me and my squad to do the repairs on the front lines or bring them back to the landing zone for larger issues,” explained Brittany.
While the job of Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer sounds challenging enough, Brittany completed the job training – Advanced Individual Training (AIT) as one of only five women in a unit of 300 soldiers. And she was the only woman in her squad.
“Being a woman in such a technical role had its upsides and downfalls. There were more chances to prove myself and gain knowledge because the sergeants saw my willingness and eagerness to learn and surpass the men. The challenges were being the only woman in the unit, sleeping quarters and restroom situations were not always ideal.
“But I would tell any woman interested in the military to join and go for a job that may scare you to gain as much knowledge as you can. You may be completely surprised by the person you become, and it is a once in a lifetime experience. I can honestly say that you will gain some of the best life experiences and friends you will ever meet. For me, I gained a lot of brothers through it all!”
Finding her way to Thermo King
Brittany found her way to Thermo King in February 2021, and the technical, problem-solving and teamwork skills she honed during her time in the Army were an immediate asset. As a Telematics Technical Support engineer, Brittany supported dealers and customers with telematics questions and engineering issues. She had to balance technical support and education with problem-solving under pressure to ensure the safety of temperature sensitive loads.
“I was excited to bring my automotive and engineering background to the company to help dealers and customers and support the business’ goals for a more sustainable future. My experience in the Army prepared me well for pressure situations, which are common in the technical support or servicing world.”
As District 3 service manager in the East Region since September 2023, Brittany is enjoying more direct contact with our dealers, providing day-to-day customer service needs, and growing deeper friendships and relationships with them. She continues to be an advocate for women in technical fields.
“The more women in the workforce, the more chances for better paying roles. The skilled trades do not have enough people to begin with, and women adding to them will only help with the increasing retirement gaps,” she explained.
Get to know Brittany
When did you join the Army National Guard and why?
"I chose the National Guard because I was able to maintain a regular life at home while serving my country. I went through basic training in March 2018."
What was basic training like?
"Basic training was decently split between men and women soldiers, and it was physically intense. I broke my hip while training."
What do you like to do in your free time?
"I travel and go fishing when I am not working. I like to explore nature and spend as much free time as I can doing photography. I like to visit my parents who now reside in Tennessee."