Patricia Cohen

The road that Pat Cohen took on her way to becoming an expert on fleet utilization and transportation management started in a Long Island service station.

"When you're working for yourself as I was at the time, one of the things that happens is that you don't have a lot of expendable funds after you pay your bill, "recalls Pat." "You also wind up with a car that's very old, so, one of the things I had to do out of necessity was to learn how to fix it."

That's when Pat, a Long Island native, fumed to her neighborhood service station for some insight into the working of an automobile. At the same time Pat was learning how to repair and maintain automobiles, another friend was learning the basics of carpentry through an adult educational program sponsored by BOCES.

"My friend said to me. You're doing all this work on your car. They have a great BOCES program. Why don't you take the program, automotive mechanics?"

With no intention of ever becoming a professional automotive mechanic, Pat, nonetheless, enrolled in the six-month training program. Little did she realize that her thirst for how things work would fuel an interest in higher education and spark a satisfying and fulfilling career in transportation fleet management.

"I remember going to the BOCES program the first day," says Pat. It was 1975 and I was the only woman in the class, and I didn't know what to expect, but the teacher Steve Koran, treated me no differently than he treated anyone else in the class. As soon as he did that I had the full respect from everyone else in the class."
The training ended, and Pat had to make a decision on what she would do to earn her livelihood, which included supporting her four-year-old son. It was also a time when professional opportunities, which had not been available to women, began to open up. Up to this time, women were still being encouraged to pursue more traditional careers such as teaching or nursing.

"It was a time for me to decide what I was going to do with my life, " explains Pat." I still hadn't planned on making a career out of it. It was my personal opinion that I didn't want to go into the garage business." A BOCES instructor informed Pat that the local utility company was looking for women auto mechanics. "I thought about it, " says Pat. "I said, I'll go and talk to someone." She did, and the company offered Pat an entry level position as a garage helper on the night shift, "I didn't know if I could work at night," Pat noted. "I had a young child at the time."

But her fortitude and determination convinced her to accept the job offer. As it turned out for Pat, the job was on the day shift "It was perfect for me."

With the new opportunity came the curious. "Many LILCO employees had never seen a woman in a "mechanic's uniform," "says Pat." I was now in an area where men had never worked with women. Other workers at the complex would come and stare. I guess that it was just human nature to stare."
She continued on in her education to get a BS in Business and a MBA Graduate Degree from Adelphi University.

Pat was promoted to the position of Fleet Utilization and Administrative Supervisor where her responsibilities included the budget and cost control, systems analysis, investigating new technology, and maintaining responsibility of the Work Equipment Pool which consisted of over 250 units including bulldozers, backhoes, trailers, etc. "I became a transportation specialist and an expert in Fleet Utilization, says Pat.

In May 1986. Pat was again promoted to the position of Area Supervisor of the Queens/Nassau Division. She is currently responsible for the repair and maintenance of 360 vehicles and off road equipment and 15 mechanics. She enjoys her new role and is continually asking for and getting input from the shop technicians to improve operations.

Pat enjoys reading mysteries and exercising and is a student of American Sign Language (ASL) Pat has been a Member of the Society of Fleet Supervisor since 1993 and is currently in the position of Recording Secretary.

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