One of the boys

0804_lif_photocolumnasphalt3

Brandy Pickett, left, and Mark Simons, right, spread out the asphalt in an alley off Elmwood Street.

Brandy Pickett, 34, a self-described tomboy and a mother of two, has worked a string of jobs in male-dominated fields.

She has worked for the City of Abilene’s Street Services for about a year. She previously worked in construction, tree cutting services and as a parts-runner.

So her co-workers might be surprised to learn she had a stint as a model in her younger days.

“It’s fun, it’s interesting,” she said about working with men. “They pretty much help you, take care of you and won’t let anything happen to you.”

Her favorite part about street repair is operating the equipment. She likes the dump truck, which layers asphalt on the street.

“The job is fairly easy,” Pickett said, “but when it’s hot or it’s cold, it’s pretty hard on you.”

Her department is responsible not only for repairing potholes, but also for cleaning up after traffic accidents and setting up barriers when streets flood during rain.

Typically, Pickett uses a shovel or a rake to smooth the asphalt before a steel roller flattens it.

And while her job requires a degree of physical labor, she sports a set of perfect nails and carefully applied makeup.

“Just because you do a man’s job, you don’t have to look like a man,” she said.

Pickett says that because of all the time she and her co-workers spend together, they are like a big family. In the winter she likes to bring cookies and feed everyone.

“I like baking,” she said.