Mechanic – Meet Jeena Villamor

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Jeena Villamor holds her hands up to work on overhead equipment for a vehicle. She wears a yellow safety vest and blue uniform.Jeena Villamor checks resistance on the contactors for an accelerator drum. She’s seen her at the SFMTA. 

Mechanic, Historic Streetcars -- Meet Jeena Villamor  

Jeena Villamor is a mechanic for our historic streetcars. Learn how she entered the automotive industry – and how her work at a BMW dealership set her for success at the SFMTA. Find out what her typical workday looks like and what she likes most about the job. 

Coursework and jobs before current role:  

Jeena’s story: 

Jeena Villamor got her start in automotive technology at Chabot College’s BMW Manufacture Training Program. She loved getting to diagnose problems and use her hands to fix them. 

“It’s just you and the car, you know? I was just dealing with my own hands and the car – that's it!” Villamor said. 

During her two-year program at Chabot, Villamor learned how to measure electricity, read wiring diagrams, repair and replace parts, and much more. 

Next, she took a full-time job at a BMW dealership in Berkeley. She spent seven years there working as a technician, building even more skills.  

“I asked a lot of questions at the dealership and did a lot of training,” Villamor said. “It was a hobby too, liking cars. Before BMW, I was getting passionate about fixing my own cars.”  

After seven years at BMW, Villamor moved on to the SFMTA.  

Previous coursework: 

  • BMW Manufacture Training Program at Chabot College – served as a GED degree 

Previous roles: 

  • Technician at BMW dealership for 7 years. Diagnosing and repairing automotive issues. 


Jeena Villamor adjusts track brakes for a historic streetcar. She wears a yellow safety vest and blue uniform and makes a repair.Villamor adjusts the track brakes for a historic streetcar.

Key skills required for current role:  

  • Deep understanding of automotive systems and electricity 

“You do need experience getting into this job. I think I needed six years or more, including mechanical and electrical experience. You have to know Ohm’s law of electricity, and about workplace safety.”  

  • Patience  

“You need to be able to solve a problem that's hard, but also take a break if you’re frustrated. You have to know when to pause and get back to it. If you keep going, you could break things or hurt yourself.” 

  • Problem-solving 

“You have to double check what is happening. First you identify the problem and then use your fundamentals to isolate it. You can look at what’s not supposed to be there and once you find the cause, that’s when you start repairing.” 

  • Confidence in your abilities 

“Do things with intention and be good at them. That’s how I’ve earned respect wherever I’ve worked. I’ve gone out and done everything with passion and confidence. After everyone sees that, nobody can question your work ethic.” 

What a typical workday looks like: 

  • Inspect vehicles for major defects 

“First thing is we deal with pull-ins. That’s when an operator pulls in their streetcar with a defect after their shift. From there, my team takes over and checks what’s causing the issue. We double check for anything really big like dynamic braking problems or no propulsion. If we find a major defect like this, we then go through a process to fix it.” 

  • Inspect for regular maintenance 

“If there are no major issues, that’s when we check for a list of regular maintenance needs. We look for worn parts, check systems and do functional tests. That means doors, lights and any of the little things. From there, we check the motors, brushes, wiring, suspension parts – just to maintain.” 

What she likes most about the job: 

  • Challenging herself every day  

“I love that I get to challenge myself every day by working with my hands!” 

  • Driving and working on beautiful, historic streetcars 

“As part of our training, I’m also getting to drive these old streetcars. And I’m starting to get really passionate about them. I want to take care and never put stress on them while I’m driving.” 

  • Keeping the public safe 

“I also like doing this work because public transit is so important for people. They need to get from point A to point B. So, if these streetcars break down, then what do you have? We work hard so they don’t break down or need constant maintenance.”