My name is Stanette Higa and I’m a maintenance mechanic at the Honolulu Processing and Distribution Center. I help fix the machines that keep our mail and packages moving.
I maintain most of the machines in the facility, but my favorite is the delivery barcode sorter machines, also known as the DBCS machines, because they are the ones I feel like I grew up on.
I work to improve machine performance, which makes them safer for employees to use. For the DBCS machine, for example, I can change and adjust its belts and gears to reduce vibration and noise.
I’ve seen a lot of changes since I joined the Postal Service in 1988 as a clerk on the letter sorting machine. I spent time in computerized mail forwarding before joining the maintenance team as a custodian in 1997. I was very happy to be promoted to a mechanic position a year later. At the time there were only three women in maintenance — now there are more than 30.
In addition to processing more packages due to the increase in online shopping, we clean machines differently. After the anthrax attacks in 2001, we stopped using blowers to clear dust out of the facility machines.
What I do has a great impact on the service that USPS provides to its customers. They rely on us to deliver their important packages in a timely manner.
When I’m not working, I put a lot of emphasis on my health and fitness. I do Zumba and enjoy home improvement projects like painting, staining furniture and installing curtain rods.
My son, Jake, is a mechanic, too, and my younger son, Josh, works in merchandising. We like to talk about our similar interests and work environments.
The maintenance women who came before me in USPS inspired me and I want to encourage others. For all the women out there interested in a career in maintenance, I say: Don’t worry, you can do it.