A Day In the Life: Tori Head

Pounding out the Dents

There’s plenty of space to work, but no room for boredom at MPW’s newly expanded paint and body shop. “You pretty much dive right in as soon as you start,” said Body Technician Tori Head, who joined the company about six months ago. “During my first week I was on a vac truck scaling and grinding metal. You do pretty much everything from Day One.”

Head said body technicians spend a lot of time painting, but also spend a lot of time fixing damage on whatever vehicle rolls into the shop. “If it’s a mechanical situation, they’ll send it to mechanics, but if there’s a wreck, we may have to replace a panel and paint it,” she said. “We don’t do the mechanical side of it. They send it to us to repair the body work.”

Head said she became a body technician completely by accident, no pun intended. “I applied to Mid-East (Career and Technology Centers) in cosmetology because I had an interest in that when I was younger and it’s a hands-on thing,” she said. “I was interested in it, but they informed me that program was full, and I wouldn’t get in. So, I had to change it, but I really didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

Head applied for welding and other hands-on activity courses but never heard anything back. She went back to her home school as usual, but when she arrived at the building, she was told that Mid-East accepted her application, and she was to report there immediately. “I went there, and I got into the auto body class. I really enjoyed it,” Head said. “I didn’t know that I would even like it. But once I started doing it, I got really interested in it.”

Head credits her interest to her instructor Josh Swingle, who is a former MPW body shop tech (he’s also MPW Maintenance Manager Tim Swingle’s son). “He was a really good teacher who was great about explaining things,” Head said. She graduated at the top of her Mid-East program. Head said one of her father’s friends works in the MPW paint and body shop where it came up in conversation that she graduated and was looking for a job. “So, it worked out,” she said. “He got me on here.”

To her surprise, mainly because there were more women than men in her body shop course at Mid-East, Head learned she is the first—and only—woman to work in MPW’s paint and body shop. “I’m the only girl there and there’s no girls’ bathroom,” she said. “They are around there, though.” Head admits she was a little nervous working with an all-male staff at first, but they have all been very respectful and welcoming. “Everybody’s nice and they’re very strict on their policies about what’s said. I haven’t had any issues with anybody,” she said.

Head said the paint and body shop also has very strict policies for everyone regarding safety. “We use dangerous equipment all the time,” she said. “We have these 40’ to 50’ trailers where we have to sand the whole thing. If you don’t wear a respirator it gets up in your nose and it causes long-term issues like COPD. Your eyes need to be protected. Steel-toed shoes are very important, too.

“We have safety meetings every morning where we have a topic every day we discuss,” Head said. “We make sure everybody is up to date with everything.”

Away from work, Head likes to spend time with her boyfriend and his three children. “I try to stay active and spend time with them—do whatever we can together,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just good to relax a little bit.”

Scroll to Top